For our final assignment, Emma and I will be analyzing a scene that occurs in chapter 27 of Americanah. We decided that a comic strip would best to convey our message, as it could present a back-and-forth approach between characters. It will be able to show different viewpoints and can engage a multitude of audiences.
The inspiration for this scene comes from wanting to draw more attention to the social stigma that surrounds refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers in the country that they are trying to relocate to. The anxiety they feel and the emotional trauma that they experience as they assimilate, as well as wanting to feel comfort that they are seen and heard in their new country, rather than just be invisible. Specifically, in chapter 27, Obinze reads only American newspapers and magazines, instead of British ones that were focusing on issues revolving around immigration. Later, Obinze encounters a woman on a train reading a newspaper about immigrants, which causes Obinze to feel lonely, as well as made him recognize that those who are natively from the United Kingdom can deny their hand in colonization. Our assignment will follow a similar path by showing the viewpoint of someone trying to obtain citizenship. It will also show the viewpoint of someone who was born in the United Kingdom and their career as an immigration officer. There will be dialogue between the two characters are they attempt to navigate this complex interaction. Different avenues will be explored, such as personal feelings, immigration laws in the country, social stigma, priviledge, and anxiety. A source we can use, although it is based on immigration in the United States and Mexico, is the academic journal, “Felons, not Families”: Criminalized illegality, stigma, and membership of deported “criminal aliens,” by Heidy Sarabia. This journal outlines U.S. immigration in the 1990s as they deported “criminal aliens,” and the affect this approach has had on effectively criminalizing these individuals which creates “consequences for their identity,” (Sarabia 284). While this source is not ideal, it goes in-depth on the issues that deportation and citizenship have on the identity of an individual, as well as their “reputation” that can develop due to the language used in the media to describe them.
Sarabia, Heidy. “Felons, Not Families”: Criminalized Illegality, Stigma, and Membership of Deported “criminal Aliens.” Migration Letters, vol. 15, no. 2, Apr. 2018, pp. 284–300. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=129478304&site=eds-live&scope=site.