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K Naan Immigrants

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What do we Americans know about immigrants and their place in the United States? When I think about this subject, I remember these lines from K’naan’s feature song titled, “Immigrants, (We Get the Job Done)” from the Hamilton Mix Tape: “You can be an immigrant without risking your lives or crossing a border with thrifty supplies. All you got to do is see the world with new eyes.” The Somali-Canadian poet K’naan, sends a message signaling to American people that despite multi-cultural influences, the collective American culture lives and breathes on ancient, unfounded societal ideals. As an American-born descendant of Canadian immigrants, I am certain that I am not alone in saying that my ancestors arrived “here” from “somewhere,” because so…show more content…
As people today enjoy “being Irish” on St. Patrick’s Day, back in the day the Irish were not well-received. Hundreds of years of oppression by Anglo-Saxons in Britain followed them to America and Irish were portrayed in cartoons as “ape-like Celts” while caricature images depicted the British race as “men of genius” (Mendible Lecture Notes). In her Afterword to Mary Doyle Curran’s novel, The Parish and the Hill, Anne Halley addresses former assumptions stating the Irish were distrusted first because of their religion and second because they may not be loyal to the American ideal: “They were Catholic – a religion thought to be based upon superstition and controlled by priests and a foreign power, the Papacy, that demanded absolute loyalty; potentially subversive of Protestant America […] they might never put America first” (Curran 226). Many Irish left after The Great Famine in 1846 immigrating as free citizens or indentured servants. Those arriving in Boston, New York or Philadelphia became the usurpers of free Blacks’ employment opportunities. Because they would work for lower pay, and they resembled “whites,” Irish families dislodged free blacks from their place in that society. In How the Irish Became…show more content…
Yezierska’s short story, “America and I,” describes life for a young, female immigrant from Poland, the struggles faced in her homeland, hope for freedom in America and heartbreaking craving for an American identity. Known as “Queen of the Ghetto,” and “The Immigrant Cinderella,” Yezierska came to see America as an idea, “a deathless hope – a world still in the making” (Yezierska 6). Yezierska, fearing that America had lost the “richness of its soul,” chose to write about her life, and the trials that Jews endured in the ghetto of New York, poverty they left Poland to escape. Attempting to “build a bridge of understanding between American-born and [herself]” she continues, that her hopes during 1923, for the “Americans of tomorrow […] will be too wise, too open-hearted, too friendly-handed, to let the least lastcomer at their gates knock in vain with gifts unwanted” (Yezierska 7). Yezierska, Paine, Hamilton and many, numerous others share her ideal that hope transfers tolerance and acceptance for every soul that lands on these
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