Immigrant Child Final; Jordan Turner & Isabella Maxey


We propose that immigrant families are at greater risk of having a presence of depression within their family. The prevalence of depression within families is fueled by other behaviors that are byproducts of experiences faced as an immigrant in America. As a result, these behaviors affect their relationships with others. Nigeria is more of a tribalistic country compared to the individualistic society, and there are multiple instances of this within the Chimamanda Adichie’s novel, Americanah.

Ifemelu was depressed within her first year of immigration (Adichie Chapter 15). She goes from Nigeria where everyone essentially works together in their daily lives, to America, where everyone follows a “on their own” mindset. This is an example of the beliefs of tribalistic countries versus those of individualistic countries. Other ways depression had manifested into Ifemelu’s first year was the observation that race did not exist to her until she came to America. She describes upon returning to Nigeria that her race disappeared when she stepped off of the plane.

Ifemelu also experienced the struggles in paying for rent, felt homesick as she suffered from lack of social life/activity. Adichie writes, “Between her and what she should feel, there was a gap. She cared about nothing. She wanted to care, but she no longer knew how; it had slipped from her memory, the ability to care. Sometimes she woke up flailing and helpless, and she saw, in front of her and behind her and all around her, an utter hopelessness. She knew there was no point in being here, in being alive, but she had no energy to think concretely of how she could kill herself” (Adichie 192).

Another character who was directly affected by depression was Dike, who attempted suicide in chapter 43. Ifemelu refused to believe in the possibility that he was depressed as she said, “He looked no different from before; there were no shadows under his eyes, no funereal air about him” (Adichie 469). Dike’s depression was also fueled by his identity crisis in which he felt stressed between not knowing his father/having a positive father figure, and not understanding why he is different and treated differently by others.

Aunty Uju is another character who deals with behaviors linked to depression such as anxiety. Ifemelu notes that upon seeing her aunt in America, she had changed and become more stressed than she was before. This affects her relationships with Ifemelu and Dike as well as her relationships with her significant others.

In 2017, a study was conducted in order to whether there is a relationship between source-country individualism and depression among different immigrant groups, with results stating, “Immigrants who migrate from countries with low levels of individualism to a highly individualistic nation were found to be particularly vulnerable during their initial years after migration, highlighting the role that cultural shock may play” (Frank and Feng). The results essentially mean that those who come from a country with strong beliefs of individualism like Germany or South Africa, aren’t as depressed as those that come from a country with collectivists beliefs like Guatemala and Indonesia.

We decided our platform will follow a podcast and discuss Isabella’s family’s experience as immigrants. We chose this medium in particular because it addresses a real issue with a real story. We felt that an experience with depression and immigration would be difficult to script without a realistic perspective. We chose to do a podcast because it would answer questions directly and allow a conversational tone to relay the very real experience.


Jordan: Hello everyone, welcome again to another episode of Immigrant Child! Today we have Isabella Maxey, a student at Stevenson University, with us today to talk about her family’s experience as immigrants in America. Throughout the podcast we’ll be answering the questions you all have as my faithful listeners! Isabella how’re you doing today? 

Isabella: I’m good, excited to be here!

Jordan: That sounds great! Now to kick things off, I’d like to start with the question of what are some common misconceptions that Americans seem to have about immigrants?

Isabella: So a lot of Americans tend to think that immigrants are uneducated. And that stems from the idea that most immigrants cannot speak English, when in reality many actually do, they just speak with accents or occasionally speak broken English because it is their second language. But because immigrants speak with accents or lower-level English, people assume that they also have lower-level education, and they attribute that to where they are from. Then the misconception develops into, “Oh, people from *that country* are not smart.” When if anything immigrants are smarter because they know at least two languages.

Jordan: You know the funny thing about the English language is that our language is one of the hardest to learn in the world! Now Isabella, we have a question from kwolfsheimer. “What is the hardest thing you deal with on a daily basis as an immigrant child in America?”

Isabella: So because I was born to immigrant parents, I have had two types of upbringing. It is confusing, because the traditional, Filipino values and culture that I grew up with do not always translate well into an American environment. The hardest thing I deal with is probably remembering that I am not what people think of as “American.” I was born here, I speak the language, I was raised here, but for some reason I am not “American” enough to be seen as such, because my parents were born elsewhere and because I look different. A book that describes this experience perfectly is Chimimanda Adichie’s novel Americanah, where the main character describes not knowing race until she came to America, and having the idea of ‘race’ disappear when she returns to her homeland. (Adichie, 2013)

Jordan: In 2017, a study was conducted in order to indicate whether there is a relationship between source-country individualism and depression among different immigrant groups, with results stating, “Immigrants who migrate from countries with low levels of individualism to a highly individualistic nation were found to be particularly vulnerable during their initial years after migration, highlighting the role that cultural shock may play” (Frank and Feng). This essentially means that those who come from a country with strong beliefs of individualism like Germany or South Africa, aren’t as depressed as those that come from a country with collectivists beliefs like Guatemala and Indonesia. Considering how long has your family lived in America, did this have a factor in why your parents decided to come to America? How long have they lived here?

Isabella: Since 1995, so about 24 years. They were petitioned over by my aunt who was a nurse, and America at the time was experiencing an incredible shortage of nurses, thus there was an influx of Filipino nurses coming into America. My parents said that as much as they miss Philippines, there is a secured freedom here that we don’t have back home; Philippines is still a developing country and things can change in an instant in terms of government, and many dangerous things go overlooked. In America, freedom is absolute to a certain degree, and if it is threatened there are people to fight for it. Things don’t go overlooked here, everyone seems to have a problem with everything but it contributes to us being safer, according to my parents.

Jordan: It’s wonderful that your parents knew they made the right decision for themselves. Did your family feel welcomed when you first arrived?

Isabella: My parents came over here to be nurses and I would say that they did feel welcomed, I can’t speak for all of their experiences but overall they felt welcomed enough to help petition other Filipinos to come over as nurses.

Jordan: Earlier you mentioned the book, Americanah, and it’s story of the character’s, Ifemelu, experience as an immigrant from Nigeria. When your parents first arrived, what problems or challenges did they face? Do you feel that Americanah, portrayed the journey of an immigrant in the right light, or was there something missing?

Isabella: When they first arrived, there were a lot of issues with finding places to live. They were still dating at the time, and traditionally Filipinos don’t cohabitate until marriage, so my mom stayed with my sister and my dad had to find another place to live. Also, jobs became very wishy-washy after 9/11, and everyone with an accent was questioned during job interviews. Luckily my parents were able to secure nursing jobs despite having to move to Maryland. My dad also got into the wrong crowd for a while, and fell into a lot of problems that caused a lot of financial and personal strain on my family that probably wouldn’t have happened had he been more experienced with the culture of America.

Jordan: Cross-cultural psychologists study how different cultural factors influence individual behavior, often focusing on things that are universal among different cultures of the world. One phenomenon that cross-cultural psychologists have observed is how people from individualist cultures describe themselves compared to how those from collectivist cultures (Cherry). Can you describe your experiences having both the Philippine and American culture as part of your life? Is there any distinction or connection between the individualistic culture you’ve found here in america compared to the Collectivist culture found in the Philippines?

Isabella: Being a Filipino-American is a confusing state, mostly because it feels as though there isn’t one party you belong to. Like I said, I speak English, I was raised in America, I know American culture, but I’m not seen as American. I also know Filipino culture, speak Tagalog (the Filipino language), and look Filipino, but in Philippines I am not Filipino either. You would think that being raised with two cultures would mean you belong to both, but there’s a cognitive dissonance in the sense that you actually belong to neither. You have to learn to navigate through both cultures, what is appropriate to say or do when, and what is important derives from what both cultures value. I am not a watered-down version of either culture, I am a product of their amalgam.

Jordan: The experiences your family had as immigrants and your experiences as a first generation immigrant child are very eye opening! We have time for one more question, Do you feel welcomed in America?

Isabella: It depends on which America we are talking about. The racist, confederate flag-toting Trump side of America that has shut down borders and thrown children into detention centers; or the America that provides refuge for immigrants and asylum-seekers and opportunities to speak one’s mind. So basically, it’s whether or not I am welcomed to America as it is now, or as it should be. I think it doesn’t matter whether or not I am welcomed, because I am already here. And while there are times that I don’t feel safe or welcomed by certain people, they are outnumbered by the times that I do. And that’s a product of where I am in this country and being raised middle-class, not everyone has this experience.

Jordan: Leaving the viewers with your perspective of America, I love it! Thank you very much for coming to talk with us about your experiences here! That is all the time we have, but would you like to say anything for our listeners before we sign off?

Isabella: There’s a reason immigrants are coming here; by boatloads, climbing fences, crossing borders. Just last year, there were over 319 thousand asylum-seekers pending asylum according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Division. There is something about America that tells these people they have more hope here than where they were born. Be that America, not the one that other Americans want you to be.

Jordan: Well you heard here first! Thank you again to our wonderful guest, Isabella! My name is Jordan Turner, and this stay tuned for another episode of Immigrant Child!


  1. Frank, Kristyn, and Feng Hou. “Source-Country Individualism, Cultural Shock, and Depression among Immigrants.” International Journal of Public Health, Mar. 2019. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s00038-019-01218-z. (From school library database)
    1. This source evaluates the topic of individualism and how beliefs affect an immigrants mindset in order to determine whether or not is a relationship between source-country individualism and depression among different immigrant groups. In 2017, a study was conducted in order to whether there is a relationship between source-country individualism and depression among different immigrant groups, with results stating, “Immigrants who migrate from countries with low levels of individualism to a highly individualistic nation were found to be particularly vulnerable during their initial years after migration, highlighting the role that cultural shock may play” (Frank and Feng). The results essentially mean that those who come from a country with strong beliefs of individualism like Germany or South Africa, aren’t as depressed as those that come from a country with collectivists beliefs like Guatemala and Indonesia; “Overall, the prevalence of depression increased with years after immigration” (Frank and Feng). however, this was not the case for immigrants from countries with very low levels of individualism.. This effect was relatively large, indicating that the results varied greatly between different immigrant groups. The conclusion states that a high level of source-country individualism tends to increase the prevalence of depression among immigrants. There is also signs of a cultural shock effect, the prevalence of depression was stronger in those who migrated from countries with low levels of individualism. This source allows us to look further in how immigration affects a person’s mindset, and how someone’s place of origin can affect their mindset and emotions when they migrate/travel to a country with opposing beliefs.
  2. Thibeault, M.Alexander, et al. “Ethnic Identity in Context of Ethnic Discrimination: When Does Gender and Other-Group Orientation Increase Risk for Depressive Symptoms for Immigrant-Origin Young Adults?” Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, vol. 24, no. 2, Apr. 2018, pp. 196–208. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1037/cdp0000174. (From school library database)
    1. This source tackles the effects of ethnic discrimination and its impact on identities; Ethnic discrimination increases risk for depressive symptoms. Sociocultural identity development is especially relevant during emerging adulthood. Studies examining impacts of ethnic identity have yielded mixed results; While the current study examines conditions under which one aspect of ethnic identity, affirmation/belonging, moderates the impact of perceived ethnic discrimination stress on depressive symptoms. This expected to vary by other-group orientation and gender, in accordance with rejection sensitivity theory. The method for this study was made of a multicultural sample of 290 non-White immigrant-origin emerging adults from mixed cultural backgrounds and generational statuses attending a college in the Southeastern United States, who went on to complete electronic self-report questionnaires. The study resulted that more robust support was provided for social identity theory rather than rejection sensitivity theory. Some results indicated a protective effect for those endorsing stronger affirmation/belonging paired with greater other-group orientation. Additionally, women with weaker affirmation/belonging demonstrated greater increased depressive symptoms compared to men with weaker affirmation/belonging. The conclusion for this sample deduced that social identity theory was relevant to the impact of affirmation/belonging on the relation between ethnic discrimination and depressive symptoms contingent on other-group orientation and gender. This finding underscores the importance of examining ethnic identity in a nuanced manner. Implications for these results  also extended to college counseling centers, where inclusion of sociocultural identity in case conceptualization would be useful.
  3. Perng, Julie. “Depression and Its Links to Conflict and Welfare in Nigeria.” Nasikiliza, 4 Feb. 2018, (Media Source)
    1. This source focuses on welfare and how it affects depression within Nigeria, where Ifemelu is from in Americanah. Studies, according to the most recent results of the Nigerian General Household Survey (GHS) Panel, show that Chronic depression affects about 20 percent of Nigerian heads of households. Poor mental health is strongly associated with having experienced adverse events, findings show that depression is associated with lower investment in human capital and lower labor participation. Of all the adverse events, experiencing conflict in the last two years has the largest and strongest relationship with the respondent’s measure of depression, registering a nearly 26 percentage point increase in the probability of being depressed. In terms of income, it is significantly and negatively correlated with depression; Poverty and adverse events going in tandem. One of their findings stated that “Our findings show that respondents who are classified as chronically depressed (according to the CESD scale) have a lower likelihood of engaging in any form of work”. Depression amongst parents ends up affecting their children’s education, specifically how much they’re willing to spend.
  4. Cherry, Kendra. “How Do Individualistic Cultures Influence Behavior?” Verywell Mind, 22 Oct. 2018, (Media Source)
    1. This media source is an article describing the behavioral attributes of individuals who grew up within individualistic cultures. This article juxtaposes the perspective of those who grew up in collectivistic cultures, which the article defines as well in order to draw comparisons between the two. The article defines individualistic cultures as those that stress the needs of the individual over the needs of the group as a whole. It defines collectivistic cultures as those that stress the importance of the group and social cooperation. We used this article as the novel we read in class and utilized within our script and podcast, Americanah, capitalizes on immigration from Nigeria to the United States. While Nigeria is a collectivistic culture, the United States is an individualistic one. Going off of this information, we were able to conduct a thorough analysis using the research from this media source in order to properly create our script for the podcast. The article source is thorough in describing the aspect and allowed us to utilize the similar terms and define them within our script.
  5. Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. Americanah (Ala Notable Books for Adults). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Book source)
    1. Chimimanda Adichie’s novel, Americanah, centers on two perspectives of immigration from two different narratives between characters. The book narrates immigration from the perspective of a woman who immigrated from Nigeria, began a new life in America and willingly chose to go back; and simultaneously narrates immigration from the perspective of a man who illegally immigrated from Nigeria to England and is forcefully deported. The instances of racism they face, the cultural norms that they learn, as well as the hyper-awareness of their differences within the structures of Western society contribute to the breakdowns and character development that further the plot. The source presents an accurate and first-hand depiction of the immigrant experience, both in a legal perspective as well as an illegal one. The distinction between those two experiences is of great importance, as both aspects change the entirety of the course of the characters’ actions. The experience of immigration is never the same for anyone, but the ones that Adichie has described are two of the most common. The novel is a good source because of the multiplicity of perspectives it presents, as well as from two differing gender standpoints. The fact that Adichie has chosen to use two different genders to display the experiences of immigration presents a more accurate portrayal as there are experiences that are only unique to certain genders. We used this source to draw comparisons and similarities between the “immigrant narrative” in our podcast.
  6. Phiri, Aretha. “Expanding Black Subjectivities in Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah.” Cultural Studies, vol. 31, no. 1, Jan. 2017, pp. 121–142. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/09502386.2016.1232422. (Literary Source)
    1. This literary analysis draws comparisons and ideas from Chimimanda Adichie’s book, Americanah, and Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon. Despite not reading Morrison’s novel in class, one can conclude from the analysis that both presented ideas versed in blackness versus Africanness. The analysis said of Americanah, “Americanah thus provides a contemporary disruption to, and de-romanticization of, the African-American Africanist, signifying myth of Africa as the ‘great aporia’ which lies at the centre of, and gives meaning to, black cultural identity.” The source is stating that Adichie’s novel is able to present the idea that race is separate from ethnicity, in that black culture does not necessarily mean nor is married to the label “African.” The novel capitalizes on this fact, and de-romanticizes the idea that blackness and African are one in the same despite others’ best efforts to marry the two. The literary source is a close, comparative analysis of the ideas presented in both novels and how they compare and contrast with one another in terms of ideas concerning black/African culture as well as immigration being the most defining and visual difference. “In particular, Adichie has, in conversation and in her most recent fiction, suggested that Africans (in the diaspora) articulate themselves differently from African-Americans. Problematized and politicized thus as contested, rather than universally accepted, subjective terrain, blackness more significantly points to the diversity and dynamism of black culture and testifies, in the current socio-political/-historical moment, to recognition of the enduring complexity of black subjectivity.” We used this source to help describe Adichie’s depiction of immigration and how accurate it is when describing the immigrant experience within our podcast.

Corruption in Nigeria – Obinze and Chief

Jillian DiOrio, Mannat Bhatia, Collin Bowers


We will be focusing on the scene in Chapter Two where Obinze talks about how he became successful with Chief. Particularly when they have dinner for the first time at Chief’s place and Obinze recognizes the business/political hierarchy that goes on, and how it is corrupt. “Corruption takes many forms, starting with embezzlement, bribery, rituals, and election rigging. In fact, corruption levels are highest in Nigeria’s political system. In both the Senate and the House of Representatives, corruption is seen as normal (Uzochukwu, 2014).By corrupt, we mean that Nigerian men within power are known for bribery and subordination. Early in the novel, Obinze takes note of Chief’s personality and tendencies and later realizes that Chief may be corrupt.  Adichie describes Obinzes feelings, “Obinze felt repulsion and longing; he pitied them, but he also imagined being like them” (Adichie 30). We chose this specific section of the novel because Chief is a character who is described as a “big man”. This refers to him being wealthy, holding a high political status, and being an egomaniac. Chief’s character in this particular scene shows an underlying issue with the correlation between political status and wealth.Chief says “Everybody is hungry in this country, even the rich men are hungry, but nobody is honest” (Adichie 30). Chief holding a wealthy status in Nigeria allows him to easily get what he wants through fraud or bribery because of the corrupt government. The author depicted Chief in this way to show the culture of corruption and materialism. Not only do Chief and Obinze exemplify the political corruption in Nigeria, but Nneoma says to Obinze “Even Chief has some white men that he brings in for show when he needs them. That is how Nigeria works. I’m telling you” (Adichie 31). This quote describes that white people are considered as a token in Nigeria and are the ones who make things happen. This shows that most characters, in one way or another, have been impacted by the political corruption in Nigeria.

We chose this specific topic because of the political corruption in Nigeria that is currently affecting immigrants. The Business-Anti-Corruption Portal Group which is a collection of free anti-corruption compliance and risk management resources including e-learning training, country risk profiles, and due diligence tools is a site that focuses on all aspects of corruption in Nigeria. A specific section in this source describes how Nigeria’s civil society is affected by corruption:

“Civil society in Nigeria is weak, fragmented and lacks resources, although there is a positive trend in its development (BTI 2016). While the landscape of civil society organizations is among Africa’s most vibrant (FitW 2016), civil society organizations continue to suffer from weak representation and limited organizational resources (BTI 2016). Labor unions suffer from similar limitations (BTI 2016). Private media and religious groups have increasingly taken on the tasks of civil society (BTI 2016)” (GAN Integrity).

We can tie this civil society corruption to Obinze’s mother and her situation within the University that she works at. In this situation, Obinze’s mother called out another professor for misusing University funds publicly. The accused Professor was insulted and decided to slap her. She wrote articles about this and many students got involved. This then let to Obinze’s mother leaving due to sabbatical. We can incorporate this in our storyboard by adding a dialogue element where Obinze is at the dinner with Chief and he realizes Chief’s corrupt tendencies and it reminds him of the situation that his mother is in, and how Nigeria’s civil social and specifically labor unions are “weak, fragmented, and lack resources” (GAN Integrity).

To visualize this ongoing social issue we will be creating a storyboard. In this storyboard we will be tying multiple scenes from the book, Americanah, to provide insight to the political issues and corruption in Nigeria. These issues will be supported by our research and give real world insight. We chose the storyboard medium because we felt that it would best portray the nepotism and bribery in politics within Nigeria. Our storyboard viewers will demonstrate empathy and consideration for the immigrants affected by the discreditable government in Nigeria. By creating a storyboard that contains still images, it allows for expansion into the virtual reality realm. This gives the ability to bring the storyboard to life and create realistic scenarios. By transferring the story to virtual reality, viewers will be so in the moment that the story will leave a lasting impact on them.

  1. Script & Storyboard

Introduction: Recreate Obinze’s meeting with the Chief at his house. Chief’s house is really a mansion with a luxurious interior design, it is a home that most people would dream of. Obinze notices Chief’s “big man” personality and realizes his corrupt tendencies. Once, Obinze understands this, he begins to reflect on his mother’s situation. This contains a memory of discussion with Obinze and his mother, about her feelings about the university, and the civil corruption that ties to that situation.

Section 1: Obinze going to Chiefs party and learning about his personality. He then reflects on how Chief is corrupt. This section is inspired from chapter 2 in Americanah by Adichie.

Box 1:
Nneoma: “Chief, this is my cousin, Obinze. His mother is my father’s sister, the professor”
Nneoma: “She is the one that paid my school fees from beginning to end. If not for her, I don’t know where I would be today.”
Obinze: “Good evening, sir”
Caption: Nneoma introduces Chief to Obinze.
Setting: Chief’s mansion, for a dinner party.

Box 2:
No dialogue
Everyone: *Enjoys their dinner and engages in small conversations*
Caption: The conversations go on, and everyone enjoy their meals.
Setting: Chief’s mansion, for a dinner party.

Box 3:
Chief: “Come and see me again, next week”
Obinze: “Will do, Chief”

Caption: Chief gives Obinze a gift of red wine, and wants to see Chief again, so they can get to know each other better.
Setting: Chief’s mansion

Box 4:
Nneoma: “Obinze, keep hanging around Chief until he does something for you”
Obinze: *Obinze thinks to himself why he should continue to hang around Chief*

Caption: Obinze and Nneoma talking about how Obinze should continue to hang out with Chief (pg 28)
Setting: Obinze’s car, driving home from Chief’s dinner

Box 5:
Obinze: “Chief, if there is something I can help you do, please tell me. You can depend on me”
Chief: “We need more people like you in this country. People from good families, with good home training. You are a gentleman, I can see it in your eyes.”

Caption: Chief has been drinking and is upset/frustrated. He talks about people stabbing him in the back, Obinez offers his help. Chief replies by praising Obinze’s character traits.  (Adichie 31)
Setting: Chief’s mansion, another gathering

Box 6:
Chief: “I’m going to buy seven properties for five million each. You know what they’re listed for on the books? One million. You know what the real worth is? Fifty million.”
Chief: “I need someone to front this deal”
Obinze: “Yes, sir, I can do that.”

Caption: Obinze finally gets a job opportunity from Chief, although the job may be unethical.
Setting: Continuation of the previous box, Chief’s mansion

Box 7:
Nneoma: “This is your opportunity! The Zed, shine your eyes! They call it a big-big name, evaluation consulting but it is not difficult. You undervalue the properties and make sure it looks as if you are following due process”
Nneoma: “And after you register your own company, you must find a white man. Find one of your white friends in England. Tell everybody he is your General Manager. You will see how doors will open for you because you have an oyinbo General Manager. Even Chief has some white men that he brings in for show when he needs the,. That is how Nigeria works. I’m telling you”

Caption: Nneoma is excited for Obinze’s job opportunity and gives him advice on why he should do this job for Chief. She also gives further insight on how political Nigeria works (pg 32)
Setting: Nneoma’s bedroom

Box 8:
No dialogue just picture

Obinze goes through with the job, and closes the deal on the properties. He begins to realize how easy his life has become from working for an unethical business man.
Setting: Obinze is shaking hands with Chief after closing the deal.


Box 9:
Chief: “The earth is seemly flat”
Everyone in the room: “Exactly! You are correct, Chief! Thank you!
Obinze: *thinking to himself* “It seems as if rich Nigerian men think they’re better than everyone else and want everyone around them to acknowledge his power”

Setting: Back at Chief’s for dinner party

Box 10:
Obinze: *Thinks to himself* I have everything I have ever wanted but somehow I am still not satisfied. Chief seems to have control over everyone and is bringing me down the same path.

Caption: Obinze has an epiphany, and realizes that Chief may be a corrupt, egomaniac, and sleazy businessman. (pg 21)
Setting: Obinze’s thoughts.




Section 2: Obinze connects his mother’s university issues to Chief’s political power and his corrupt tendencies. This section is inspired from chapter 4 in Americanah by Adichie.

Box 1:

Obinze: * to himself* “Mother was a part of a big scandal at the University she teaches at. She was discriminated against by her bosses and colleagues”

Obinze begins to reflect on his mother’s situation with the university, and his feelings toward it.
Setting: Obinze’s thoughts


Box 2:
Obinze Mother: “Me and the committee found out that you are misusing university funds!”
Professor: “Who are you to talk to me like that” *SLAP*

Flashback of the specific situation with Obinze’s mother and the school. She publicly accused another professor of misusing university funds, and he slapped her.
Setting: The University in a public setting


Box 3:
Obinze Mother: “Son we need to go to Lagos, I was put on sabbatical leave due to the incident at the university.”
Obinze: “Why can’t we just stay here?

Obinze’s mother being put on a “sabbatical” after the situation
Setting: Obinze’s home in Nsukka.

Box 4:
Obinze Mother: “Equal rights for all!”
*civil society organizations continue to suffer from weak representation and limited organizational resources*

Obinze’s mother going/participating in strikes for equality and justice. Incorporates research.
Setting: Downtown/Outside the University.


Box 5:
Nneoma: Obinze, you’re still not ready! We needed to be Chief’s 10 minutes ago.

: After Obinze’s flashback he is very sad, and doesn’t want to go to Chief’s house, but his wife pressures him.
Setting: Present day, Obinze and Nnenoma’s bedroom.


Box 6:
Chief: “I like that girl. Give her to me and I will give you a nice plot of land.”
Middle Class Man: “Sir, that is my wife you are talking about. You have no respect for women!”

After this flashback, Obinze realizes that Chief is exactly like the other rich men in Nigeria that treat others, especially women, unequally.
Setting: Obinze’s thoughts.


Box 7:
Obinze: “Dear Ifemelu, I am not proud of the man I have become. These rich politicians have taken over me and have made me into the man I never thought I would become. It’s time for a change and im hoping you can help me see my old self.”

Obinze becomes disgusted with himself, and wants to make a change. He realizes that he not only associates himself with these kinds of people, but he may become one of them. Whether he wants to or not.
Setting: Obinze’s Office writing out his feelings.



  1. Bibliography

“Nigeria Corruption Report.” Business Anti-Corruption Portal, May 2017,

Nigerian Corruption Report from the Business Anti-Corruption Portal is a profile-like information page about the corrupt aspects of Nigerian government. It goes through each section of government, analyzes it, and determines its corrupt, if so, how corrupt and why it’s corrupt. The Business Anti Corruption Portal is the most used resource for this content. It has been around since 2004, and is comprised of a team of international leaders within this industry. We used this source to connect the personality traits of Chief, with real world corruption characteristics. We also used this source to connect Obinze’s mothers’ situation with her University and the strikes that she inevitably participated in, to real world issues with Nigeria’s civil society.


Oji, Mazi Kanu, and Valerie U. Oji. Corruption in Nigeria : The Fight and Movement to Cure the Malady. UPA, 2010. EBSCOhost,

Corruption in Nigeria addresses the effects of corruption in Nigeria and provides a concise overview for a lasting solution. Offering insight from the authors’ original thinking and experiences, the book traces corruption from colonial rule through nearly fifty years of successive civilian and military government, counter coupes, and ethical reform programs that were launched using Mazi A. Kanu Oji’s ideas. The experience of Nigeria, as the most populous country in Africa with great potential for becoming one of the world’s leading nation-states, is relevant to African studies, political science, public administration, and leadership studies, as well as U.S. and global policy interests on health and human rights, ethical leadership, and governance in Africa. This source was a big help when it came to addressing the overall corruption in Nigeria and showing how strong it truly is. 


Iyam, David. “‘Full’ Men and ‘Powerful’ Women: The Reconstruction of Gender Status among the Bias of Southeastern Nigeria.” Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne Des Études Africaines, vol. 30, no. 3, 1996, pp. 387–408. JSTOR,

Wealth plays an important role in acquiring a social position; it is to her that we owe the differentiation between persons classified in a hierarchy based on social prestige; but once rich, women discover that there is a distinction based on sex. The social and economic success of a woman rarely allows her to climb the social ladder; in fact, it sometimes has the opposite effect, that of lowering its position. bias research in southwestern Nigeria suggests that a woman’s respect for social and economic wealth does not give her access to a more privileged social position or political authority. although this respect is greater than that accorded to the occupational group to which it belongs. In addition, it is no longer the difference in gender roles that explains gender inequality, but deep differentiation between the sexes. Wealth has become an important foundation from which even women in seemingly egalitarian cultures place themselves in clearly defined social squares within the social hierarchy. This source was a help when it came to backing up the wealthy man status of Chief throughout the novel and also gave insight on what Obinze was trying to avoid becoming. 


Okwuagbala Uzochukwu Mike P. (2014, November 25). Corruption in Nigeria: Review, Causes, Effects, and Solutions. Retrieved from

Corruption in Nigeria is one of its biggest challenges. Apparently corruption is found in every part of society. Corruption is a broad topic that could be separated into smaller sections. It could be the illegitimate use of power to benefit a personal interest, the offering of a bribe to an official so the truth could be hidden, embezzlement of public funds, and any  act that is considered to be criminal in nature. In the political nature in Nigeria, due to the level of corruption, politicians find it difficult to align themselves. They believe once they take any position in politics they’re stuck and have to use corrupt trick to fill their pockets.

Nigeria, which is the setting of our script and storyboard. Most importantly, it was the setting of the novel, Americannah. This source has very valuable information to help us. First, it connects to our proposal. What exactly is corruption, and what does it entail in Nigeria? Corruption in Nigeria can be interpreted in many different ways. It starts with embezzlement and ends with the Nigeria’s political system, where corruption levels are highest. Obinze comes into contact many times with political corruption. Obinze doesn’t like the way Chief is and how everyone acts when around Chief. Chief also has Obinze go and participate in a shady act for him. Obviously, when Chief first brings this opportunity to Obinze, he looks forward to it due to the rewards he gets. Eventually, Obinze feels as if his life has gone down a wrong path and isn’t what he wanted in his life.


Neither Hair Nor Their Podcast

Neither Hair Nor Their Podcast by Jess, Kelsey, and Yina


One of the first symbols that we encounter in Americanah are Ifemelu and Aunty Uju’s hair. After Aunty Uju moved to America, she began studying and tested for her medical license. When Ifemelu is in America staying with Aunty Uju and Dike, she brought in the envelope that contained Aunty Uju’s results for her medical test. Aunty Uju immediately says, “I have to take my braids out for my interviews and relax my hair. Kemi told me that I shouldn’t wear braids to the interview. If you have braids, they will think you are unprofessional” (Adichie 146). Ifemelu immediately questions that fact that there are no doctors with braided hair in America and Aunty Uju responds with “I have told you what they told me. You are in a country that is not your own. You do what you have to do if you want to succeed” (Adichie 146). Aunty Uju is a perfect example of someone coming to America and feeling pressured to change the way they look to fit an “American standard.” She was told if she wants to succeed and get her residency then she needs to change the way she looks to fit in.

Stereotypes and criticisms of black and African American women are also often are based around their hair. Natural Afro-textured hair is seen as “unprofessional” or “nappy” in many cultures, which is an opinion based in ethnocentrism. In a study completed by Whitney Bellinger of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, the opinions of several African American women were recorded as to explain why these women worked to have “good hair” (Bellinger 67). “Good hair” was defined as that which has been chemically treated to defy its natural texture. It was found that women who treated their hair reported changing their hair for convenience, better opportunities, and because that is how their mothers did their hair; but those that did not treat it did so based on racial pride (Bellinger 67). In Americanah, Aisha immediately assumes Ifemelu wants dark hair attachments and snidely asks why she does not relax her hair. This attitude of “fixing” natural hair, which is held by many people all over the world, even natural hair stylists, exemplifies the stereotyping and criticism African women face for having naturally kept hair. Our medium will display the criticism African women face and demonstrate the societal pressure put on them through gossip culture and peer pressure to change their hair. The platform we decided to use is a podcast that will be recorded and edited with the digital tool, Audacity. We are utilizing this medium because it is the best outlet to examine the culture of gossip and stereotypes relating to culture and hair. In our podcast we will “interview” Ifemelu and Aunty Uju from Americanah. A podcast is a modern way of presenting and analysing certain topics and people’s opinions on those topics, therefore this outlet will be beneficial in creating a medium for the “opinions” of these characters to be expressed on the topic of hair.  


Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. Americanah. 2013.

Bellinger, Whitney. Why African American Women Try to Obtain ‘Good Hair.’ University of Pittsburgh at Bradford


Full Length Podcast:

Shortened version of Podcast:


Introduction (Kelsey): Welcome back to the “Neither Hair Nor There,” podcast. I am Kelsey and today I am joined by two wonderful Nigerian ladies, Ifemelu and Aunty Uju. Today we will be talking about discrimination against hair that doesn’t fit the “American standard.” Did you hear about the incident last year, in 2018, where an 11-year-old black student at a private Roman Catholic school in Louisiana, was asked to leave class? On her first day of school the administrators told Faith her hair didn’t align with their school policy resulting in her spending a lot of money to change her hair. When she returned to school the administrators said her braided hair extensions still violated school rules. This incident came after C.J. Stanley, a black 6-year-old boy, was sent home on his first day of school because he had dreadlocks. This happened the week before Faith’s incident (Jacobs, ”Black Girl Sent Home From School Over Hair Extensions”). Both of these kids and their families were extremely upset and disappointed about these situations. What are your feelings on these stories about discrimination against hair?

Ifemelu (Yina): These are very unfortunate circumstances. I am angry and upset that these young children would have to go through this kind of discrimination. Since they are young, they are vulnerable to think that their culture does not align with American customs and society. Instead of punishing them for their hair, school officials and teachers should be encouraging these students to have whatever hairstyle because it is a form of self-expression.

Aunty Uju (Jess): I agree with Ifemelu, no child or person, black or white, should have to go through what these children had to go through. It is 2019 and we are talking about America, there should not be any discrimination still present. These children are allowed to change their hair if they feel like they need to do it, but they should not be forced to fit the American customs. Historically in America, hair has been a major factor in segregation. Certain hair types and styles appeared in culture as a divider between races. There is no longer segregation in America, and therefore discrimination based on hairstyle should no longer be ruled by anyone.  

Kelsey: I agree, this is no way to raise our children in this country, we should be promoting individuality and not forcing everyone to be the same. Have you guys ever personally had a similar discriminatory experience?

Aunty Uju (Jess): Yes, I experienced a similar discriminatory experience after I passed my medical exams and began interviewing for residency. I was told that there are no doctors in America with braided hair and since you are in a country that is not your own, you need to do what you have to do to succeed. As soon as I found out I passed my medical exams, I immediately knew I had to take out my braids and relax my hair so I wasn’t considered “unprofessional (p.146) .”

Ifemelu (Yina): I also had a similar experience, however it was a voluntary practice. I had an important job interview and Aunty Uju and one of my friends convinced me that it would be better for me to straighten my natural hair (p.250).

Kelsey: Wow, that is very unfortunate. I am so sorry you guys had to go through those experiences. What resulted from those experiences? Did you change your hair when you felt pressured to?

Aunty Uju (Jess): I had to. Life had been made hard enough by having to prepare and pass all of my medical exams over again, I needed to do what I had to do to get into my residency. I was already facing an uphill battle and since my hair is something I could easily fix, I did it (p.146).

Kelsey: What about you Ifemelu? Did you change your hair?

Ifemelu (Yina): I did change my hair. I bought relaxer but it barely did anything to my afro. I followed it up by going to a professional hairdresser and she put more relaxer on. That time it burned my scalp. I remember that after that whole process, the hairdresser complimented me on my newly straightened hair and I will never forget her words. She said that my hair had a “white-girl swing” to it (p.251). When I left the salon, I felt sad because a part of myself was killed by those chemicals. That part of my identity was gone. However, I ended up doing very well with my job interview but I wonder if it was because my hair was straight and not in its God-given halo of hair.

Kelsey: From what I have read from your blogs, Ifemelu, it seems like you have been through a lot with your hair. What do you personally consider to be “good hair?”

Ifemelu (Yina): I personally consider “good hair” to be natural. Hair that has only been touched by natural products and worked with using natural methods. But I also believe that “good hair” should be defined by what an individual is confident in. For example, if a woman is more confident in straightening her hair, then more power to her.

Kelsey: What are some hair care recommendations you have for our listeners who have the same type of hair like you?

Ifemelu (Yina); After my incident with relaxers and burning my scalp, I realized that I would rather be in my natural hair. One of my favorite products is the Hair Now Now Hair serum that revitalizes your scalp, repairs any damages, and makes your natural hair longer and smoother. The second product I use is Dr. Miracles Feel It formula that can be used for relaxed, braided or natural afro hair. It builds the scalps and hair roots, helping you grow strong, shiny and longer hair. My favorite and easiest thing to do is sleep in a silk wrap.

Aunty Uju (Jess): I use many products, and wear silk wraps when I sleep. Since I am older than Ifem, I use Afrodragon, an oil that grows your hair quickly and is highly effective against receding hairlines and balding heads. Since I relax my hair, I also use is Shea Butter/Ori which moisturizes the hair and prevents hair breakage. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, reduces scalp irritation and heals the hair.

Kelsey: Thank you guys for being a part of the podcast, hopefully we can do this again soon!

Ifemelu (Yina): It was a pleasure to talk to you about this!

Aunty Uju (Jess): Thank you for having us!

Kelsey: If you liked our podcast today make sure to share it. Tune in next week for an interview with the hair stylist, Aisha, for her tips and tricks on how to style Nigerian hair.


Bellinger, Whitney. Why African American Women Try to Obtain ‘Good Hair.’ University of Pittsburgh at Bradford

Stereotypes and criticisms of black and African American women are also often are based around their hair. Natural Afro-textured hair is seen as “unprofessional” or “nappy” in many cultures, which is an opinion based in ethnocentrism. In this study, completed by Whitney Bellinger of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, the opinions of several African American women were recorded as to explain why these women worked to have “good hair”. “Good hair” was defined as that which has been chemically treated to defy its natural texture. It was found that women who treated their hair reported changing their hair for convenience, better opportunities, and because that is how their mothers did their hair; but those that did not treat it did so based on racial pride.

The data in collected in this study was recorded from several participants that were African American women and a few women of other cultures and backgrounds. This was done through surveying using open ended questions. This data, as it is opinion, is qualitative. There seems to be no bias, as the surveyor asks the same open ended questions to each individual and presents and analyses the responses. This study will be used to help us base our questions and responses on proper information as well as inspire our podcast’s interview questions.   

Caldwell, Paulette M. “A Hair Piece: Perspectives on the intersection of race and gender.” Duke Law Journal. 1991.

This article is about a woman’s perspective on the intersection of race and gender. In this piece, the woman recounts specific events when she has either witnessed or have learned about discrimination because of a woman’s braided hair. The woman, Paulette M. Caldwell, who is a law professor at New York University, recounts experiences of discrimination within her law career and when there have been specific instances in law cases where hair discrimination is shown. She continues on in the article about hair is a form of self-expression, specifically for black women because it reflects a “crossover” from the world of segregation and colonization to the mainstream of American life. This article is credible because it is in Caldwell’s point of view and she writes about her experiences as well as discrimination that is written in history through court cases. We are using this article to further explain discrimination in society.

Jacobs, Julia, and Dan Levin. “Black Girl Sent Home From School Over Hair Extensions.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 22 Aug. 2018,

Discrimination still exists in our country. The most recent cases of discrimination have been against African Americans for how they wear their hair. Just last year, in 2018, Faith, an 11-year-old black student at a private Roman Catholic school in Louisiana, was asked to leave class. The first day of school the administrators told Faith her hair didn’t align with school policy resulting in her spending a lot of money to change her hair. When she returned to school the administrators at the school said her braided hair extensions still violated school rules. This incident came after C.J. Stanley, a black 6-year-old, was sent home on his first day of school because he had dreadlocks, the week before Faith’s incident. Both of these kids and their families were extremely upset and disappointed about the situation. The kids don’t even understand why they aren’t allowed to come back to school until they change how they look. This article was found on the New York Times. The New York Times is a left center publication. In the article there doesn’t appear to be any bias, since it is just stating facts using unbiased statements like “asked to leave” and “turned away,” referring to the administrators making these students leave. If this article was biased they could have used different word phrases like “demanding they leave” and “yelled at.” We used this article to be the introduction in our podcast. We start the podcast by introducing this recent case of discrimination which is the bridge into a question and answer session with Ifemelu and Aunty Uju.

Peed, Mike. “Realities of Race.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 19 Oct. 2018,

This article was found on the New York Times, which is a left center publication and showed no signs of political bias in the article. This article evaluated the book Americanah, so it was more of an opinion piece. The author of the article, Peed, gives a quick summary of the book Americanah and gives his interpretation of some of the major themes in the book. Peed thinks Adichie did a great job creating a worldly and geographically precise, as well as a hugely empathetic novel. He points out that the main question in the book is what is the difference between an African American and an American African. Peed gathers from Adichie’s novel that an African American is a black person with several generations before them living in the United States and is pleased that they are from a country that gives international aid rather than receiving it. An American African is an African newly emigrated to the United States, where in their country they didn’t realize they were black but in America that is the only Adichie uses some of her personal experiences and has one of the main characters, Ifemelu, embody the experiences. Peed thinks Obinze fails in England since he was deported but thinks Ifemelu thrives in America because she was seeking authenticity. Peed notes that one of the most important moments for Ifemelu in America is when she refusing to straighten her hair even if that meant she would receive rude comments from the natives. We used this last point from Peed about Ifemelu refusing to straighten her hair in America to develop our topic of discrimination against hair in America.

Walton, Nikki. “About Me.” Natural Hair Care | Curly Nikki, My Hair Story, 11 Oct. 2008,

The webpage is a blog created by Nikki Walton, a black woman from the United States who grew up with insecurity issues due to her hair. She grew up with family that took proper care of her hair, but as she rose to adolescence, she began to have an obsession with straight hair. During her college years, Nikki had to leave her hair natural often as she did not have as much time or ability to straighten it. She began to have an intense struggle with her hair and self-esteem. Eventually, Nikki began to find some comfort and confidence in her natural styles and even looked to online blogs about natural curly hair to learn how to care for her hair and accept it.

Nikki created her blog as to create a safe place for other women and girls like her to find tips for haircare and acceptance. Nikki and her work have been featured on dozens of talk shows and articles. She has become an inspiration to those facing issues with their hair and self-confidence. Her stories and work have inspired hundreds of other women to tell their stories of haircare successes and issues. This is why her blog is an important resource for women and the acceptance of themselves in a culture where they may be pressured to feel otherwise. This blog was used in our project as a baseline of information on black women’s experiences with their hair. This source gave us information on current trends, feelings, and styles of black women’s hair.

The American Dream ( Choose Your Own Adventure)

Mark Perry, Will Johnston, Joe Candon

Almost anyone can tell you what the American Dream means to them. But can anyone obtain this dream? We propose that now a days the American Dream is unrealistic for immigrants. The way American society and government are makes it more difficult for immigrants. Immigrant families are being separated from one another once entering America and are not given a fair chance at reaching their goals.

The inspiration came from the novel Americanah and the current news on immigration.  Our goal is to create an experience similar to Americanahs chapter 9 when Ifemelu’s comes to America for the first time. Ifemelu arrives in America and Aunty Ujupicks her up from the airport in New York. Uju seems tense and unhappy, different from how Ifemelu remembers her. Ifemelu also relizes that when speaking on the phone Uju pronounces her name differently because that’s what people call her here in America.  Ifemelu has to sleep on the floor, as Aunty Ujuand Dike share the single bed. Ifemelu expected everything to be more glamorous than it is, and she can’t fall asleep, overcome by the newness of it all. She looks out the window and notices how different the street looks from the one on The Cosby Show (Adichie).Everything since her arrival seems disappointing and even unfriendly to Ifemelu, and Aunty Uju provides an example of how the pressures of immigrant life can “subdue” and change someone (Adichie).

LATimesjournalist Angelica Quintero wrote anarticle titled America’s love-hate relationship with immigrants.This article is about how even though America is made up of immigrants it has a history of having problems with immigration. The articles stated “The poor, the sick and those espousing certain political beliefs were barred from entry into the U.S. under other new laws. Laws discouraging immigration from Southern Europe — mainly from Italy — reflected widespread anti-Catholic sentiment (Quintero).” This article also stated “President Trump ordered an overhaul of immigration law enforcement, stripping away most restrictions on who should be deported. Under the new guidelines, up to 8 million people in the country illegally could be targeted for deportation (Quintero).”

We chose to use Twine to create out choose your own adventure game. The experience we are trying to create is an adventure game where the user/ player is an immigrant entering America and what you go through once in the “Dream Land.” We want to impact your experience as an immigrant to create a unique and memorable experience.  Our users will make their own choices and each choice will have a different or similar outcome. This will put the user in an immigrant’s shoes and bring out different emotions ones you wouldn’t get from just watching T.V or reading.

Our story begins right after the user gets picked up from the airport and includes the journey to their aunt’s house. To navigate the simulation the user will read the text at each step and then click on the links at the bottom. Once the user reaches the end of the simulation they will have the opportunity to go through it again and make different choices the second time through.



Cherry, Stephen M. and Lucas, Amy. “The immigrant experience: Houstonians’           family attitudes and behaviors.” Sociological Spectrum, vol. 36, no. 6, 2016, pp.       378-390.

-This is a scholarly article about the view of family between America and immigrants coming to America and how they’re different. The article goes into depth about assimilation, socialization, intermarriage, and family attitudes. Using the Houston Area Survey, a 2011 study concluded that non-Houston citizens are more likely to date members of a different ethnic race making it very likely for Houston to become diverse in the coming years. The survey also states that immigrants exposed to American culture and attitudes are more likely to portray the same attitudes and culture they see assimilating to what’s around them. The last part of the article states that immigrants are paid less than minimum wage on average.  The article helps us blend the world of Americanah with contemporary America. This article gives us a wider look at immigration in America and can therefore use the information done in the survey to help make sense of how the Aunt and main character (you) fit into our world logically. This piece was used as a way to create the household in which the Aunt lives in and takes the main character (you) to at the end of play.


Helsel, Phil and Fichtel, Caitlin. “University of North Carolina at Charlotte                     shooting kills 2, injures 4.” NBC News,         ws/least-2-dead-2-injured-after-report-shooting-university-north-n1000436.

This is a NBC News article about the school shooting at the University of North Carolina. A 22-year man is charged with the murder of two University of North Carolina students and the attempted murder of four others. Three of the four are in critical condition. The shooting happened on the last day of the school year at the University of North Carolina. The incident was viewed as a “tragic loss to a great university,” and “time for mourning.” With the main character (you) entering America, having left a country (Nigeria) with lots of violence and political corruption going on, going to a place looking for the “American Dream” means that violence should be minimal to non-existent. This article goes against that idea of a “dream” world and creates fear. This piece is used as a news piece to make the main character (you) feel uneasy about coming to America. With the main character coming to America with high hopes of the American Dream, this helps shift their personal thoughts towards viewing America in a less pretty light and send our choose your own adventure into the second part.


Ibrahim, Awad. “Don’t Call Me Black! Rhizomatic Analysis of Blackness,                         Immigration, and the Politics of Race Without Guarantees.” Educational                   Studies, vol. 53, no. 5, 2017, pp. 511-521.

-This is a scholarly article about African American immigration to America. Three studies researching how African Americans are perceived in literature create a framework on how black immigrants think, learn, and create their desires and identities. African American immigrants are said to have a disadvantage before even coming to America with literature having already written out their story so they have farther to go before they can truly get anywhere. A new narrative needs to be taught so African Americans can create their own stories. This piece was used to help in the overall creation of what the main character (you) experience when coming to America. With this project being a five minute simulation of the American experience from the viewpoint of an immigrant, the story is set up so the main character has the chance to make their own narrative and create their own narrative. With the create your own story aspect, there’s multiple possible ways that people playing as the main character can see different horrors of the world to influence the main character’s thoughts changing about the American Dream, and then getting to create their own story (if this project were to be flushed out into something bigger).


Li, David K. and Madani, Doha. “Minneapolis police officer found guilty in                    shooting death of unarmed woman who called 911.” NBC News, https://www.       -death-unarmed-woman-who-n999706.

-This is an article from NBC news about a police officer shooting an unarmed woman in Minnesota. The woman called the police reporting a sexual assault happening next door. When the officer arrived on the scene, she ran up to the police car and was shot. The officer is pleading not guilty with evidence being the only thing that is holding up the court hearing. This piece was used as a news piece heard in the game to make the main character uneasy about their safety in America and the police officers meant to protect them. With the American Dream on the main character (you)’s mind, and entering a city where police activity is heavy in certain parts (North Philadelphia), this article creates fear. The main character is in another city but after hearing this can start feeling uneasy due to the fact that they may fear if this incident were to happen to them. Entering a country at a time where tensions are constantly high between law officials and the African American community makes the situation more fearful for the audience playing as the main character.


Maxouris, Christina and Sutton, Joe. “A 25-year-old Iowa woman was shot and              killed while driving home from work.” CNN,        us/iowa-former-student-shot-and-killed-highwy/index.html.

This is an article from CNN about a student who was shot and killed driving home from work. The woman was shot in the neck at around 2:30 am. The police have no information on the killer at the time, and are offering a $7,000 reward for anyone who comes forward with information on the killer. This piece was used as a news piece heard in the game to make the main character uneasy about their safety in America. This article goes against the idea of the “American Dream” creating fear in the main character (you). With the main character riing home at the moment of hearing the article, this creates not just general fear now while driving home but any time when going around in America. The main character left the violence of back home only to enter a new world of violence that really isn’t all that different. It just has a difference mask it wears. Using a real world article also makes it more realistic for the person playing this simulation because they can take from stuff they either know or may hear of.


Nwanyanwu, Augustine Uka. “Transculturalism, Otherness, Exile, and Identity in        Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah.” Brill, vol. 49, 2017, pp. 386-399.

-The literary analysis really helped us dive into the themes in which Chimamando Ngozi Adichie explores in her novel Americanah. We specifically looked at the theme of transculturalism. We explored this theme through the aunt’s adjustment to America. These aspects are pointed out as the main character is seeing everything with brand new eyes. When the aunt talks about the music and how the main character needs to get used to it because it is all around. The same happened when the main character sees the police officers. It helped us understand the relationship between Ifemelu and Aunt Uju. We tried to adapt a similar relationship between the main character and the aunt in our story. It often showed up in the responses from the main character to the aunt as well as the responses the aunt must the main character when they react to the radio or something seen out the window. At the end of the story we also try to touch on the theme of identity. As the main character is in the aunt’s house they realize that the American dream is not all that it is made up to be. It is seen that the aunt is struggling and in a lesser spot than if she had stayed in Nigeria. This prompts the main character to question if the right choice was made in coming to the United Statea.


Quintero, Angelica. “America’s Love-Hate Relationship with Immigrants.” Los               Angeles Times,

-This is a Los Angeles Times article about America’s love/hate relationship with immigrants. The article compares how America current handles immigration now versus in the past. A lot of polls and research went into the article. Many show the spike in immigration happening in the late 80s, early 90s, and beyond. But over time, more immigration executions have been ordered and a push has gone to create a wall preventing immigrants from coming into America. The article also has many political articles that exaggerate for humor the United States’ stance on immigrants coming in with one comic in particular standing out to me where a man wearing a United States hat is standing in a brick box me made for himself to keep out Refugees, Muslims, and Mexicans. But even with that much protection, the man states he still feels “unsafe” and should make a “lid” to be fully enclosed. This piece was used to help create the love/hate relationship the main character (you) have when seeing America for the first time. It can be seen in the situation for housing that the main character goes into because of the crappy situation her aunt is in due to being an immigrant and having a tough start in getting her “American Dream” going.

Final Project

Ariana Olvera, Madi Yurek, and Megan Biemwsdefer



For the final project of the semester our group, Megan, Madi, and Ariana have decided to create a comic. We believe that it is a medium that people can connect too deeply with an option for color use and simplicity that draws the eyes and catches the mind. Also, Madi is a visual communication design major, therefore she has experience and a unique eye to lend to the project as our point person on design.

Our inspiration comes from Ifemelu’s interactions and reactions to the women in the hair salon. As well as a few other scenes that highlight discrimination and American ignorance like the scene where she changes her hair for an interview, and her interactions with the Black and African Student Unions. The way immigrants both support, judge, and compete with each other even as Native Born Americans do the same in different ways creates a fascinating dynamic that few native born Americans are aware exists even as they play into it. The interactions and views are different between fellow African immigrants, who are from different countries, then between African immigrants and ones from other places, and then again from the interactions with born Americans by either group. It caught our attention and made us think in a new way, that we would like to highlight and share. The root of all these interactions can be summarized by a quote from the Migration Policy Institute, “Immigrants display an appreciation of the U.S. and a commitment to making it their home, but they also maintain a strong connection to their country of origin” (Farkas). The interaction differences show almost immediately when Ifemelu’s origins are made known, “Aisha did not look up, Halima smiled at Ifemelu, a smile that, in its warm knowingness, said welcome to a fellow African, she would not smile at an American in the same way” (Adichie 9). This interplay and differing reactions of the hair stylists to Ifemelu, as well as the difference between her greeting and that which a native born American might receive, are contrasting. The exchanges between immigrants are not all positive and supportive like this though. Instead some are rather dismissive and mean, like the time Ifemelu spoke to her aunt’s friend about how long she’d been in the US, “The jeer on the Nigerian’s face had taught her that, to earn the prize of being taken seriously among Nigerians in American, among Africans in America, she needed more years” (Adichie 15). Rather than giving this new woman (Ifemelu) supporting advice she sneered and acted dismissive and rude. Instead of supporting or congratulating a fellow Nigerian woman on her American journey there was spite given. This dichotomy is fascinating and we want to show it and highlight it in our comic.


Characters: Black Student Union;

Ama: Our main character, whom we follow to various clubs, she is in a green dress below. She is relatively new to the country and has joined all of the shown clubs to better adjust and to make friends. Through her we will learn about life in this country for non white persons.

Brea: Below, the female with red hair. She is a Black Student Union club member. As a native born black American woman she has more insight and knowledge as to life in the United States for black women, especially the intricacies of getting a job.

Alex: A black Native born American man in the Black student union. He is based off of a friend of Megan’s who was interviewed for the project. He gives the male viewpoint on the topic, as well as some history about the situation as Ama may not be familiar with it as an immigrant.

The Scene:

We hoped with this scene to establish the differences between treatment towards men and women, the unfair and odd expectations put on black women as far as looks go, and the related difficulties that stem from it all on at least a basic level. We took our initial inspiration from the scene where Ifemelu gets her hair done, despite her not really wanting it changed, in preparation for her job interviews. We added to this and went deeper with the aid and inspiration provided by our two interviewees.


Characters: African Student Union;

Ama: See Previous description

Zane: The leader of the club, wearing a blue shirt. He is an older student, and has been in the United States for a while. He facilitates the meetings and tries to help out fellow African immigrants both in and outside of the club. Zane is to show the positive interactions between the same culture in the club.

Kellan: In the red shirt, he is new to the club but not to the country. He has some insight and maybe a little cynicism from his time in the United States but some things are still just plain weird to him. Kellan is mainly a character to keep the conversation going and build a stronger emotion to how immigrants can be feeling.

The Scene:

We hoped to highlight both the differences in people at different levels of integration into the United States, as well as the ignorance of many Native born Americans in regard to other countries and cultures. We tried to have Zane in a sort of shrug and joke about it mindset, to show he is used to it all, Kellan a bit annoyed still but getting there, and Ama curious, confused, and a bit snarky/dryly humorous. We drew inspiration from various parts of the book in this case, but what stuck with us was the hair salon scene where the question is asked and answered, why call it Africa rather than the country’s name, and that Americans don’t truly know African countries. It was discordant, true, and embarrassing to note true of us for the most part. We wanted to put a sardonic humorous twist to it and address it here.


Characters: International Student Union;

Ama: See Previous Description

Kellan: See Previous Description

Ai: A young Chinese immigrant studying Music with a Psychology minor. She is frustrated by people’s assumptions that she would be excellent at math and science, as well as in a medical major due to her looks. Her character is to prove stereotypes are not always true and followed.

Julio: In a red tank top, he is the current club leader and a Cuban Immigrant. He struggles with Americans assumptions as to his homeland and finds it frustrating that people are so quick to assume and judge based on his accent and skin tone. Julio is another example to show it is not just African or Blacks, but all races that get the slurs, stereotypes, and racism.

The Scene:

Our hope in this scene was to highlight that EVERYONE faces discrimination of some sort, and a lot of it may even be very similar at its core. We wanted to bring all of the scenes together and wrap it up with the thought that there is a lot of things to struggle with, discrimination and assumptions both good and bad, but there is also a lot of positives and a lot of options to take for anyone who comes here. Those decisions are all valid, or so that’s what we wanted to convey with the ending. We drew inspiration from Megan’s personal experience studying abroad (She was in an International student union that all supported each other in homesick or culture shock moments), from the book’s scene dealing with the differences between the Black Student Union and the African Student Union, and from our own knowledge and experiences growing up in the states with immigrant friends or family and with popular media influencing our views.



Black Student Union- Topic: Profiling/Appearance affects on life in USA


Ama- Main: So, I am looking for a part time job on campus while I am here, does anyone know of any positions that are open?

Brea: Oh, there are a few around, but you will need to straighten or braid your hair for the interview- for some reason it is seen as more professional.

Ama: Why?

Brea: Who knows. It just is how it is.

Alex: Glad I don’t have cornrows, cause they’re just gonna think I’m too street to be hired.

Brea: Yes it’s infuriating, you shouldn’t have to limit your hairstyles just so you can get hired.

Ama M: I don’t really get it. I don’t care what kind of hairstyle you have. Is it all that bad?

Alex: My mom has to straighten her hair all the time just so she can keep her job. If she came in with her natural hair it might make her look unprofessional, which it ultimately shouldn’t but that just happens to be the case.

Ama M: But I don’t get how that makes you unprofessional.

Brea: I think it might have something to do with certain white people being so uncomfortable with race that they’re uncomfortable about being reminded that there are black people.

Ama M: Why is that?

Alex: Because when integration first happened most white people in the South were against it, and President Eisenhower had to send the national guard down to Arkansas just so the recently integrated black students would not be attacked by the other white kids. That, for the record, was only a few decades ago. If white people needed the national guard to stop them from attacking integrated black people back then, there are still some lingering aspects of that sentiment in the workplace if you work with white people.

Brea: And most of the best jobs are jobs with white people!

  • Cut –

African Student Union- Topic: Different Nations/American ignorance FOCUS BOTH

Zane: Alright everyone, welcome to today’s ASU meeting. Let’s start by having our newest members introduce themselves.

Kellan M: Hey, I’m Kellan, I’m from Zimbabwe. I’ve been in the US for a few years now.

Ama M: I’m Ama. I’m from Comoros and I’ve come to the US for my University education, so I arrived only about a month ago. I actually have a topic I wanted to bring up and see if anyone else has experienced if that’s alright?

Zane: Sure, let’s hear it then.

Ama Main: When I first moved here, people would be curious about where I was from but whenever I told them they wouldn’t understand. Almost every time I’d get a blank look or a follow up question!

Zane: I get the same, and then after saying Africa I get all of these ridiculous questions about child soldiers or not having shoes and clothes! We didn’t need that stuff…

Kellan Main: Yeah, I get odd questions too, people do know where my country is, but nothing else about it.

Ama M: Oh? Usually they don’t know any country but Africa… though that’s a continent. What kind of questions? I usually don’t get past the ‘which continent is that’ issue.

Kellan M: Oh like, ‘Do you live near lions’ or ‘how did you deal without indoor plumbing?’. I would swear they are all idiots but some of them are working on masters degrees!

Zane: Yeah I got the lion question too, why are they obsessed with deadly cats!?

Ama M: Soooo, what we know Americans know, our homes are in Africa- after we explain that its a continent and yes we are sure, that we have funny accents, and that we probably have man eating cats mainly lions. Though I personally NEVER saw a lion in my town! That sum it up?

Kellan M: Yep. How are they so smart but so dumb! Honestly….

Zane: Alright, let move on then, does anyone else have anything to add?…


International Student Union- Topic: Similarities between week’s topics & General Discrimination

All Main Characters

Julio- Hispanic: Okay, it looks like we’re all here, so let’s get started. Does anyone have a topic to bring up?

Ama M: Well, I’ve been noticing a lot of stereotyping from people, good and bad.

Julio: Okay, any examples?

Ama: Well, people seem to feel the need to describe black women with the term strong, almost no matter what. Surely not every single black woman is strong, and other women not?

Kellan M: Yeah, its an American thing, I think its meant to show respect but… well it’s just a bit weird.

Ai M- Asian: I haven’t really noticed that, but everyone here seems to assume I’m excellent at maths and the sciences. I’m not though! I HATE math! I’m a Music Major with a Psychology Minor, and it shocks people. Most people here in the US assume I’m some sort of Medical Major or in the maths or sciences.

Julio: That all sounds frustrating. I get it though, people always assume I’m from Mexico because I have an accent. I’m from Cuba! All the insulting slurs too…

Kellan: At least you don’t have to be mellow all the time. If I show a lot of emotion to non-black strangers they freak out. People even avoid me on the street sometimes! It is insane, I am a normal person, back home these things would never happen!

Ama: America presents many issues to immigrants. Things are strange here, and people base so much on stereotypes rather than really learning about other places. It can be so frustrating!

Ai: Yeah, but there’s a lot of good here too…

Kellan: I miss home, not having to worry so much about how I act. I’ve met some good people here, but I think I’ll go home or to some other country at least after I’ve graduated.

Julio: It sounds like everyone’s had some troubles, let’s make sure to support each other if we see something happening! Are we ready to move to the next topic?


Adichie, Chimamanda N. Americanah. Kindle, Knopf Canada, 2013, pp. 2373-2383.

Adichie, Chimamanda N. Americanah. Kindle, Knopf Canada, 2013, pp. 3749-3752.

Adichie, Chimamanda N. Americanah. Kindle, Knopf Canada, 2013, pp. 3752-3767.

Adichie, Chimamanda N. “Chapter 1.” Americanah, Knopf Canada, 2013, p. 9.

Adichie, Chimamanda N. “Chapter 1.” Americanah, Knopf Canada, 2013, p. 15

Blackman, Alex. Personal Interview. 3 May 2019.

This interview was recorded by one of our group members, Megan Biemwsdefer, when she talked to her friend Alex Blackman who has personal experience with our subject. Alex is a Black American who was born and raised in the United States, but does have a good background in traveling the world and seeing different cultures. We went to him for real life perspective specifically to focus on the scene for the Black Student Union and his thoughts on racism in the United States. It also helped that he has also read Americanah and knows the book and our discussion. Alex gave us good inside views, for example, he talked about the symbolism of hair and how it did affect their lives, especially his mother as a female. He also opened up about slurs and how they are offensive and how these racist acts in the book do happen in real life as someone of color living in America. It was interesting when he said “take it with a grain of salt” because it really shows that the situations happen but not as a constant everyday situation and it really shows Alex’s emotions toward the subject. He probably gets offended by these racist situations, but he also sadly has gotten used to them and knows when to brush them off his shoulder when it needs to be. Alex will be biased some toward the immigrants views and maybe not a completely neutral interview, but it is what we were looking for in order to really get a deeper, real life perspective on racism. He was also kind enough to look over our script to make sure that it was inoffensive and as accurate as possible so we did not hurt feelings or provide false information or feelings from the immigrants in our story.

Farkas, Steve. “What Immigrants Say About Life in the United States.”, 1 May 2003,

The Migration Policy website has a great article, “What Immigrants Say about Life in the United States”, which summarizes what life is like in America for Immigrants based off of Immigrants opinions and viewpoints. The research was done by a nonprofit called Public Agenda and they communicated and studied about one thousand immigrant in different locations around the United States. Some of their findings were not as shocking after reading Americanah, for example they knew learning English meant success, that they have a really strong work ethic, or that they try to balance being American and keep their home culture. These things we have discussed in class. Something that was surprising was how so many of them say they don’t want “charity”, they know they have to work hard to make it, and yet about three quarters of those interviewed volunteer and do community work. This research is very important and reveals a lot about how those who moved to America feel and dedicate their time to trying to find their place. This article is biased because it is from an organization specifically for helping Immigrants and the detail about immigration policies in the United States. They are for immigrant and support using these positive words like “driven”, “deep commitment”, and “desire” to relate to the people they are trying to help or raise awareness about. Yet the study seems like a great source of researched information and that it why we used it to show those emotions and desires of immigrant to fit in and build a place in the United States in our story.

Underwood, Kalilah. Personal interview. 3 May 2019.

This interview was done by one of our group member, Megan Biemwsdefer, with one of her friends, Kalilah Underwood. She has personal experience and viewpoint on our subject. Kalilah is a Black American who was born and raised in New Jersey. We decided to speak to her since she has a real life perspective for the Black Student Union, as well as her thoughts on racism and discrimination in the United States. She gave great input on having natural hair versus straightened or fake hair, like a wig or getting a weave in a professional setting. She expressed to us that she herself, feels pressured into conforming to straighten her hair, but she also feels like this situation is getting better, considering that in the last Miss USA, the winner had natural hair. She also expresses her thoughts on whether or not there is still discrimination in the United States. In fact, she very much believes that there is still very much discrimination all over the United States. She says “It is actually disgusting that in 2019 black people need to be scared to walk to the store or talk to someone of a different race”. She conveys that it isn’t just happening to Black Americans but also many other races as well. Lastly, she was kind enough to skim and look over our script to make sure that we didn’t exaggerate or under sensitize certain topics and ensure there is cultural accurateness.

“The Most Obscure Countries in the World.” Ranker, Accessed 5 May 2019.

The Ranker website has an article which displays many of the most original sounding and obsolete countries from all over the world. They showed this by having a list. This list includes 54 of the 196 countries that are in the world. Many of these obsolete countries are in Africa. This list is always changing as well. Ranker website has a mechanism where viewers can vote and change the ranking of said list. Viewers can say whether each item or in this case, country should go up or down on the list. If they think it’s in the right place, they don’t need to do anything. Thus, the name of the website. This gets many opinions of those around the world based off their knowledge of the countries. Some of these countries we had not heard of either. This speaks to the simple fact, that many Americans, have not or are not exposed to this sort of information. We used this source to find different countries that we could use in our script, and to show how most Americans have not heard of  different countries. This gave emphasis on the topic for the African Student Union scene which we touched on the ignorance of Americans to geography around the world, and how many Americans view Africa as one huge country, not a continent which is what it is.


Final Project




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.

Character List:

Obinze: A calm, intelligent young man, well-spoken illegal immigrant who works full time as a sales representative for the purpose of this script. This slightly imaginary scene takes place in Chapter 27. At this point in the novel, Obinze has been denied a visa and is currently an illegal immigrant. He is constantly on alert of those around him, as well as the current political climate and social stigma that surrounds those who are refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers.


Immigration Officer: The immigration officer is taller and more built than Obinze, which adds to the intimidation and fear that Obinze feels during the interaction. He is white. He is in his work uniform and has a scowl on his face while reading his book on the train.


Women who accidentally bumps the immigration officer so he drops his book.


Characters are set away from each other on the train. The immigration officer is reading. Obinze notices and begins an internal dialogue.


Immigration officer is reading. He seems intimidating and not approachable. For now, he does not notice Obinze and is very focused on his book, “Politics of Immigration in France, Britain, and the United States: Comparative Study.”


Obinze’s thoughts: I wonder what he is thinking as he reads that. Did he get into this line of work to help or to harm?


Immigration Officer continues reading.


Obinze thoughts: If he notices me, will he see me for me or simply the color of my skin?


Immigration officer shifts in his seat slightly and causes Obinze to get nervous and look away quickly.


Immigration officer continues reading without noticing Obinze


The train stops and a woman rushes past, bumping the officer and causing him to drop his book.


Immigration officer drops book by Obinze’s feet and Obinze picks it up and hands it back.


Immigration officer: oh I’m sorry, thank you.


Obinze: Not a problem, officer.


Obinze can feel his fight or flight instinct start to kick in, but knows he must remain calm as to not raise any alarms, as he is an illegal immigrant.


Immigration officer immediately notices Obinze’s accent. He thinks its intriguing that Obinze addressed him as officer. He decides to close/put away his book and strike up a conversation.


Immigration officer: Where are you going?


Obinze: (insert fake location) I’m going to a work at my office.


Immigration officer: Oh, where do you work?


Obinze: in sales


Immigration officer: Ah, that must be bloody boring.


Obinze, still sensing danger, manages a slight smile.


Obinze: What do you do for work?


Immigration officer: I interview people coming into the country in the immigration office


Obinze: What made you get into that line of work?


Immigration officer: I mainly wanted to protect the UK against potential terrorists


Obinze is an illegal immigrant that has been denied a visa. Obinze understands that he is taking a risk by asking questions of the immigration officer, but Obinze knows he has an opportunity here to answer some of his lingering questions. Since he has been denied, he feels ostracized and marginalized by this society. Obinze believes that by asking questions of the officer, it may help him to gather further information and insight into his situation, as well as the viewpoint of the officer.


Obinze: So why do you deny those who are not terrorists and want a better life?


Immigration officer: This conversation just took a turn.


Immigration officer: I’m not the bad guy here. There are certain rules we have to follow, put in place by the government. That isn’t a part of the job I enjoy, but often, it has to be done.


Obinze: I suppose I understand that.


Immigration officer: Do you feel differently?


Obinze: I suppose I have a unique viewpoint since a lot of my friends have come from Nigeria, so I just see a different side of the system that often does not benefit those who are seeking a better life.


Immigration officer: I can see where you’re coming from, unfortunately it isn’t always fair.


Obinze gives a small smile


Obinze: Yes, unfortunately.


Immigration officer: Well, this is my stop. Have a nice day.


Obinze smiles and waves.


Obinze: You too.


Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. Americanah. Alfred A. Knopf, 2016.

The novel, “Americanah,” follows Ifemelu and Obinze as they journey from Nigeria to the United States and England. Along the way, they fall in love and have the navigate their personal feelings, as well as their relationships with others while they are apart. Ifemelu travels to Philadelphia for college and struggles to feel as if she is at home and welcomed in the United States. Ifemelu begins to feel very depressed and no longer communicates with Obinze.

Obinze moves to England after he graduates, but is unable to find a job. His visa expires and he eventually becomes an illegal immigrant in England. He attempts to pay to be married to a girl in England in order to attain a green card, but is caught and sent back to England.

Ifemelu’s time in the United States is a rollercoaster of emotions. She begins to date Blaine and has a very popular blog about race. As a couple, they both start to support Obama’s presidency and stay in a relationship because of their support for him mostly. Ifemelu gets the opportunity to stay in the United States with a fellowship, but decides to end her relationship with Blaine and return to Nigeria.

In the meantime, Obinze is married to Kosi and they have a daughter. Obinze and Ifemelu finally decide to meet again and their past flame beings again, although since Obinze is married, they must end. Obinze then attempts to divorce Kosi, which she does not allow. Eventually, Obinze returns to Ifemelu.


B_TARGETjobs, Ross. “Immigration Officer: Job Description.” TARGETjobs, 23 Feb. 2017,

This media source overviews the duties of an immigration officer during their time of work. Some of these duties include, “observing passengers passing through passport control areas, examining passports, conducting interviews, taking fingerprints, carrying out surveillance, organising the removal of passengers who fail to qualify for entry, collecting statistics, and writing reports.” The article outlines different organizations that can employ immigration officers. The training and qualifications of immigration officers are also given, such as passing medical checks and security clearance. Other qualifications that are not required but provides advantages, include being fluent in multiple languages, or legal studies, superb A level or GCSE results. More strict qualifications for immigration officers in the UK are all candidates must be British Nationals, pass security checks, and medical checks. The article also states that, “all new recruits will receive an initial period of training that takes 9 weeks.”

Key skills for an immigration officer is also of utmost importance. The article states that “Immigration officers need to be assertive and have confidence in their own judgement while being fair and impartial. They need to be quick-thinking and observant to stop potential illegal immigrants. They have excellent communication and interpersonal skills as they regularly deal with international visitors with limited English language ability. They can be firm yet polite with people who may be frightened or aggressive. They are able to work independently as well as part of a team.” Immigration Officer’s versatile work ethic gives them a different look on how to handle each immigrant that comes through.


Blinder, Scott, and Lindsay Richards. “UK Public Opinion toward Immigration: Overall Attitudes and Level of Concern.” Migration Observatory, 7 June 2018,

This media source researched and provided an overview of the opinion that the United Kingdom citizens had towards immigrants and their level of concern. The discussion follows four core questions which are: “Do people favour or oppose immigration to the UK and is it seen as one of the most important issues facing the country? Secondly, are attitudes changing over time? Third, how does the UK compare to its European neighbours in its views? And Fourth, in light of the public debate around Brexit, how divided are we over attitudes to immigration?”

The source found that Britains do not look favorably at immigration, although there is evidence that attitudes are starting to change. Statistically, the data showed that 58% of Britain’s wanted to reduce the number of immigrants, while 30% are in favor of keeping the number where it currently is. In relation to attitude, there has been a shift in attitudes since 2013. Now, 45 percent agree that the number of immigrants is too high, compared to that opinion being 64 percent 4 years ago.

Britains do believe that immigration is the most important topic right now. When polls and surveys were taken, Britain’s showed a different preference of immigrants depending on their country of origin. The data showed that in 2017, 10 percent of Britain’s said that no Australians should be allowed in, while 37 percent stated that no Nigerians should be allowed.

The article did a great job at outlining the different data as it pertains to immigration, comparing it to other countries in Europe, and identifying the different factors for each set of data. It overviewed the opinions of the public, most of which Obinze would have interacted with on a daily basis. It helps to provide insight into the issue and the script.


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,

While this source is between the United States and Mexico, it is beneficial for understanding the social stigma that surrounds illegal immigrants and how they are viewed by citizens and officers alike. The journal overviews the stigma that surrounds migrants who are deported and often labeled as “criminal aliens.” This label can often criminalize these migrants because of the system under which the United States operates. The journal further evaluates how this can have negative impacts on people’s identities if they are deported.

The journal states that  “Consequently, the legal status of those unauthorized in the U.S. is so stigmatized that it has been called it an abject status, defined as “those in the lowest, most contemptible, and most wretched social status” (Gonzales and Chavez 2012:256).” This statement furthers the viewpoint of the journal on how illegal immigrants are seen and why the stigma surrounding them is so horrible.

This article was useful for research because it allows an insight into deportation and citizenship of an individual. It also allows insight into the damaging effects that deportation and the label “illegal alien” or “illegal immigrant” can have on immigrant’s identity. Through this source, Obinze’s thoughts during chapter 27 when he sees the woman reading the newspaper can be further understood by the reader. He feels ostracized and seen as a criminal or a threat to Britain’s way of life. He also feels like she views him in a negative light, regardless of Obinze’s intentions for living a productive life.


Turnbull, Sarah1. “Immigration Detention and the Racialized Governance of Illegality in the United Kingdom.” Social Justice, vol. 44, no. 1, Jan. 2017, pp. 142–164. EBSCOhost,

This scholarly source outlines the suspected racism in Britain’s immigration system. This text overviewed how the british government handled immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees. The text found that not only did the system produce a hostile environment, it also systematically spreads racism through the lack of diversity within the staff. The journal states, “the lack of racial diversity among staff was stark, with predominantly white “keepers” and non-white “kept.”  The immigration officers were mostly white, while those they were in charge of handling were most often not, as it was described in this quote from the journal: “The telling point, however, was that whiteness was associated with authority and with an outsider status.”

The detention center often handles those who are poor and have a more difficult time living a “standard” life in the United Kingdom. It often inhibits their ability to “work, rent, bank, or obtain a driver’s license in the UK,” which often leads them to leave the country because they can not live a life there.

The article provided an example of an interaction between an officer and a detainee. The detainee was Brazilian and was making comments that British citizens are lazy. The officer got involved when hearing these claims and take offense to these comments. The officer then decided to immediately end the argument, rather than allowing it to lead to an important conversation. In this process, the officer further marginalized the detainee and their experiences. This article helps for insight into Obinze’s oppression that he experiences in London while trying to gain citizenship.



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,

Final Assignment

The goal of your final project is to remix one story from Americanah into a digital publication. You should select one scene or narrative thread you find most compelling to translate into an interactive experience. In order to do this you need to deeply understand the main point of this story, the motivations of the characters, and the geography of the setting. Research will help inform your work.

This project will be split into four parts:

  1. A proposal
  2. A bibliography
  3. A written script
  4. An interactive story

  • This should be 350-400 words long, with a visual. Think of this as your pitch.
  • It should explain your inspiration – citing specific sections of the novel.
  • It should contain at least one outside source that provides critical analysis of the subject.
  • It should describe the platform (digital tool) and why you chose this medium.


  • Five to seven sources on your subject, including at least two scholarly sources from the library database, two popular media sources, and one literary analysis.
  • Each source should have a 250 word annotation that summarizes and evaluates the source.


  • Aim for a 3-5 minute experience, which translates to 2-3 pages of text.
  • This script can include dialogue, story description, narrative, and research.
  • This must be revised and edited carefully, including the correct spelling of characters and places. Must be in MLA format with citations.

Interactive Story

      • This can be a game, comic, map, VR/AR experience, or podcast.
      • This is the visual representation of your script.
      • Tools include:

I recommend working in groups of 2 or 3 students, and each group member should have clear responsibilities. You will have two weeks in class to work on this project. Each group must meet with me for a review of your project the week of May 6th.

You will post the pitch by class time on 4/22 with category “final” and tags “final” and “proposal.” You will post the final, including the script, a link/embedded interactive element, and the bibliography by midnight on 5/10 with category “final” and tag “final.”