Author’s note: When reading my essay I would like you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
Power is a privilege. Being able to make choices for yourself and having the power to be whoever you want to be can be exciting, but this power can be taken away when labels are put in place by others. Labels are created to confine people into a box; to limit them and make them feel as though they do not belong. This often happens to immigrants that come to the United States, seeking a better life than what their home country could offer. The United States gives off the impression that all are welcomed but in reality, those who flee to the states feel as though they do not belong because Americans never let immigrants forget the fact that they were not born here. Already feeling misplaced because they have lost their homes, the center of their universe, just to come to a place where they believed they would be safe but really isn’t what’s being advertised. Most Americans tend to focus on themselves and when things interrupt our system we usually push them to the side so we don’t have to worry about them; I think that’s when labels come into play. I don’t feel as though it’s to be seen as being self-absorb or being selfish, it’s just that most Americans prefer to stay in their own world. By giving people a label it limits them and puts them into a box that others can push to the side. A lot of people have the mindset of if it isn’t a problem for me then I don’t want anything to do with it, I know most of the time I personally act that way but I have to catch myself and come to my senses. America has a lot of crappy components within itself, which is why its people focus on that rather than the outside world because we can not help other people’s problems as we’re still dealing with our own. This tends to be the case more if you’re black causing you to be desensitized on another level. I feel like Americans began to see certain stuff as normal because of how often it appears so when it happens to others it’s not as shocking or overwhelming for one to handle. When following most narratives about immigration the concept of labels is heavily represented. From them being seen as being poor, illegal, thieves, being helpless, or that this is the perfect life that they’ve always dreamed of. These labels are distributed by people who choose to forget where they have come from. It amazes me because they are being seen as someone/ something they want to be seen as but now immigrants are only seen “through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of the world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.” Forgetting that 98.4% of the United States’ population isn’t native to the land meaning that technically we all deserve at least one of the labels that are constantly being given out. The fact that many people believe that immigrants should have the “perfect life” now that they have come to America but are limited. The concept of the American Dream doesn’t really seem to be everyone’s dream. I wanted to focus on a narrative by a young Nigerian girl who didn’t believe in this dream. She found herself trying to fit into the American standard but when she was in Africa she felt free. No longer feeling the pressure to be someone she isn’t. The feeling of not having a home is bad enough because home isn’t just a building. It isn’t just somewhere where you place your head at night. It is the thing that your heart yearns for when you are lost, mentally or physically and when that is taken away a part of you is taken away too. So imagine not having a home and coming to a new place that doesn’t allow you to consider it your home; it would suck.
Works Cited: Nazario, Sonia. Enrique’s Journey. Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2014 Okoro, Enuma. “A Return to Nigeria.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 24 Apr. 2014, https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/23/a-return-to-nigeria/?hp&rref=opinion