Immigrants - The True And Untold Story Of America
During economic and social uncertainty people feel the urge to find a scapegoat. So they blame their misfortunes on somebody, anybody, just so they don't have to take personal responsibility and look in the mirror first. The fear of the unknown, which is inherent in human nature, eventually leads to the overwhelming and irrational urge to hate accompanied by the desire to destroy or get rid of the perceived "threat."
Immigrants, particularly those who are not from European countries, fall into this unholy category. Immigrant bashing is at an all-time high, especially in states such as California where the percentage of immigrants is the highest in the nation. Virtually every time we hear about immigrants in the news, it's not about celebrating their many contributions, sacrifice or heartwarming love and loyalty for this country, but rather about how they break the laws and drain the system. Never mind that law-breakers and bloodsuckers are found in every group of people.
A contributing factor to our beliefs about immigrants is the perception that they are uneducated and a liability, and therefore undeserving of what America has to offer. This negative image is perpetuated not only by the media but also by various special interest groups, including some self-serving politicians who would try to divide and conquer by spreading hatred.
Not only do immigrants become the butt of jokes, but they also become a convenient target for discrimination, bias and prejudice, all of which inspire feelings of low self-esteem and an inferiority complex born out of feeling like second-class citizens who are not welcomed here, unless of-course they happen to be Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The blame game is not only inconsistent with the American way, but it is equally unfair and destructive. Above all, it's hypocritical. That's because whether people realize it or not, America is a nation of immigrants. The fact is that every American is either an immigrant or a descendent of an immigrant. In fact, immigrants are the true story of America. There are countless inspirational stories of immigrants who made a tremendous difference and contributed to the fabric of the American heritage. What many are unaware of is the untold story of immigrants who sometimes risk their lives to come to the Land of Opportunity, many came for religious and political freedom. They work unbelievably hard, often in poor conditions, and are faced with enormous challenges and struggles (from adapting to a new culture and learning a new language to biases and prejudices), just to get a piece of the American Dream.
Immigrants have to leave their families and homeland for the chance to improve the quality of their lives. But too often they end up feeling like a stranger in a strange land (even though they have a deep love for this country). They wind up feeling "in it, but not of it, no matter how hard they try to assimilate into the American culture.
Like anything else in life, there is good, bad and ugly in every group of people (including immigrants). In a country that presumably prides itself on fairness and justice for all, it seems strange that people would look down on immigrants when immigrants typically love this country more than those were born here.
The never-ending attack on immigrants is symptomatic of something much larger. It's a reflection of intolerance for differences (i.e. lack of acceptance). It's also an indication that while we may be living in a space age, morally and spiritually we still live in the stone age. The use of such a narrow definition in describing people as this or that is a reflection of limited awareness. It is through increased awareness and the understanding of the unity of life, that acceptance is possible. It is through acceptance that peace and cultural harmony are possible, which ultimately leads to total prosperity and a free and thriving society.
So go ahead and love"em or hate"em - but also know that immigrants are simply a fact of life that can not and should not be ignored. Perhaps a more productive way of dealing with this emotionally charged issue is by increasing the level of our awareness of the true story of immigrants while celebrating their contributions that helped shape the fabric of a society and heritage we"ve come to know and love as America.
And the next time the urge of bashing immigrants hits you, stop and ask yourself, "Am I being fair and intellectually honest, or am I just venting my own personal frustrations and mirroring my own inadequacies? Better yet, why not be the change you wish to see in society? And why not shift the focus from a narrow definition and scope of humans (such as: black, white, or immigrant/non-immigrant) to a much larger definition that's inclusive and more accurately reflective of our true identity which is beyond any artificial barrier of color, race, place of origin or even religion. Why not simplify things by adopting only one definition: Decent human beings (those who contribute to society) and indecent human beings (those who are grabbers and destroyers). Why limit your rainbow of happiness and prosperity to one color when you can enjoy the whole spectrum?
Think of all the opportunities for attaining total prosperity and even cultural harmony and real peace. These are limited only by our imagination. When you live by the mantra "live and let live, guided by the power of love rather than love of power, it's easy to celebrate the contributions of immigrants and the diversity which is the mosaic of life. Now that makes both good sense and good economics for every one.
About The Author
Copyright © 2004-2005, Geela
Author of "The American Dream"
Geela is an award winning singer/songwriter/composer, columnist, and author of the best-selling book "THE AMERICAN DREAM, her true- life story of how she came to America as a young immigrant with nothing and overcame incredible obstacles to achieve mega-success. She founded ONE SPIRIT, ONE WORLD to help children and promote a culture of peace and harmony. Get a free sample of her music and her book at http://www.Geela.com