Thursday, April 7, 2011

Guests and Aliens Reading Response

As I currently write this I do not have my reading in front of me, so I will have to edit this later once I have my notes. However, this is my initial reading response...

What I found so fascinating about "Guests and Aliens" was the perspective it brought to immigration. For me, I had always thought of immigrants as holistic of a general national population. Certain countries, I assumed, boasted a high degree of immigrants, and therefore, many of their citizens likely felt a desire to escape their country.

However, the reading brought to light the notion that immigrants are really only in pockets of countries. Instead of all citizens wanting to leave, or none wanting to leave, immigration is actually region specific. Another interesting component of that (although not as surprising) is that immigration is typically calculated in waves based on some sort of political movement (ex. WWII). Additionally, immigrants, even if they move to a new region where the people share their customs, values, language, etc, are still viewed as the outsider despite all of their similarities with the new culture they have now become a part of.

I always thought the distinction we draw between ourself and the "other", is a difference in physical appearance, cultural norms, etc. Yet, if an immigrant is still considered the other despite reflecting the common culture and appearance, what else can they possibly do to incorporate themselves into the new landscape?

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