ANALYSIS, INTERPRETATION, AND SOURCES
After performing my interview with Edward, I decide to step back and really look at what I had just learned. I will spend some time analyzing and interpreting my interview in light of what I have learned from class discussions, my interdisciplinary social science readings, and such.
First, I considered how rare his case actually is nowadays. To illustrate, the article “The New Immigrants” by Charles S. Clark discusses how the face of immigrants is drastically changing. Even within the small amount of time since Edward moved here, the shift in immigrants has moved toward Asian, Latino, and Caribbean immigrants. German immigrants, like Edward, are becoming less and less apt to migrate to the United States. I did however recognize some similarities between the “old” immigrants like Edward and the “new” immigrants of today. For example, the family ties seem to dominant both waves of immigrants. Clark writes such immigrants are “homogenous, hard-working, and family-oriented…” I noticed the same traits within Edwards family and life style.
Second, I attempted to dive into the hidden story behind the interview. “A Mexican Town That Transcend All Border” by Deborah Sontag assisted me in this area of my analysis. This article expresses the somewhat unknown lives and thoughts of immigrants. Sontag states, “Almost every migration story is the psychodrama of a family, its aspirations and frustrations, its separations and reunions, its traditions and compromises.” Although this particular article focuses on the story of a town, I discovered that my interview would Edward had some parallels. For example, his father’s aspirations to move to the United States to provide a better life for his son is reflected in my interview. Edward, like many other immigrants, had to separate from the life he had always known, taking with him only memories.
Third, I analyzing the misconceptions Americans have as to why immigrants come to the United States. Saskia Sassen’s “Why Immigration” Sociologist Sassen challenges the most dominant common understandings of why people migrate around the world today. She writes, “policy-makers and the general public believe that the causes of immigration are evident: poverty, unemployment, economic stagnation, and overpopulation…” She continues to explain how the actual reasons are quite different. Edward’s family, for example, mobilized here over the ‘bridge’ of services. His father was not poor, nor was he unemployed. On the contrary, the flow of capital goods and services opened by U.S. efforts, needed him to come to the U.S.!
Fourth, I took a close look at what Edward said about his accent. He said when he spoke other would look at him “like an alien.” Keeping this statement in mind, I proceeded to read over “Language” by Amitava Kumar. Throughout the article, Kumar successful explores the importance of language in American and the meanings it carries with it. He writes, “…it is language that all immigrants are defined and in which we all struggle for an identity.” Reflecting back on my interview, it became clear to me that Edwards attempt to sound more American, was his attempt to construct an acceptable identity within his new world. Before reading this article, I had not realized how critical of role language, and for that matter accents, play in the life of an immigrant.
Finally, I pondered over the incident with Edward and the group of kids that beat him up. In the process of doing so, I skimmed over “Justice on the Line” by Jenn Allen, and once again, I found some very interesting parallels. This article describes the obstacle in which residents of Mexican-border communities face daily based purely on the way they look. Allen stated, “residents are made to feel suspect simply because of their appearance…” Despite the fact that Edward is light-skinned, he too experience discrimination based on cultural traits. His accent, in the eyes of his offenders, dictated who he was, how he thought, and where he came from. Once again, this article shed light on an issue I made not have considered otherwise.
My interdisciplinary social science readings proved extremely helpful in further analyzing my interview. Observations that are typically not considered were noted and appreciated.