Proposal

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. The way immigrants both support, judge, and compete with each other creates a fascinating dynamic that few native born Americans are aware exists. The interactions and views are different between fellow African immigrants, who are from different countries, then between immigrants and born Americans. 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.

 

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

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

Farkas, Steve. “What Immigrants Say About Life in the United States.” Migrationpolicy.org, 1 May 2003, www.migrationpolicy.org/article/what-immigrants-say-about-life-united-states.

 

Final Proposal

Image result for political corruption cartoon

 

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 Chiefs place and Obinze recognizes the business/political hierarchy that goes on, and how it’s 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). By Chief holding a wealthy status in Nigeria it 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 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 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, Nigeria’s “Civil society 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).  This is referring to how Nigeria’s civil society get’s relatively no support from it’s government, and the support that it does get, usually involves corruption or bribery of some sort. We can tie this civil society corruption to Obinze’s mother and her situation within the University that she works at, where there are strikes and employees/professors are not getting paid. We can corporate 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.

 

Collin, Jill, and Mannat.

 

Nigeria Corruption Report

Proposal: VR Discrimination

Taylor Wilkins Benny Hegbe

The social issue we decided to portray in our project is discrimination of immigrants. Discrimination is defined as “prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action or treatment” according to Merriam Webster dictionary, meaning one is viewed or treated differently based on preconceived values or ideologies. In society today unfortunately, discrimination is such a prevalent issue because there is a myriad of cultures, values, and beliefs in existence. Typically, people form biased opinions and beliefs based on their ignorance of these cultures, values and beliefs. Discrimination perpetuates the racial divide amongst a group of people when in reality people of all races, ages, genders, and backgrounds must come together in order to fight the issues of the world.

According to NPR, those who appear to be immigrants, specifically Hispanic people, report 4 out of 10 have been discriminated against. In another survey, according to NPR 92% of black people say they have been discriminated against. As one can see discrimination is very high in the United States which is why this issue needs to be brought to the attention of others.

In Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche the main character, Ifemulu faces discrimination when she visits a black hair salon. Ifemulu visits a hair salon in order to get her hair braided and while at the salon there are numerous snooty comments made by the ladies in the salon even though they are also African, however they ate from a different country. One example being when they ask Ifemulu if she knew a famous Nigerian actress just because they are from the same country. Even after Ifemulu leaves the book states, “They would, she was sure, talk about her after she left … They would laugh with derision, but only a mild derision, because she was still their African sister, even if she had briefly lost her way” (Adiche 126). The women in the salon are clearly treating her different even though technically they are still the same race. Another experience of discrimination in the book was when Emenike, Obinze’s friend, tries to hail a cab in London. He tells the story of a time where the cab driver turns his active light off before passing Emenike and then turns the active light back on after passing him(Adiche 201). In this instance Emenike was pointing out the evident discrimination he had faced from the cab driver due to his ethnicity. Also the book shows another instance of discrimination when Ifemulu and Curt are at the farmer’s market. A black man walks by and mutters how could Curt be with her when it looks as if she’s from the jungle(Adiche 157). All three of these accounts display discrimination on various levels throughout the book.

We decided to choose cinematic virtual reality as our medium to enforce the prevalence of our issue. As we discussed in class our society is becoming less empathetic and virtual reality is a proven tool to help stop this issue. We believe if our audience actually experiences discrimination first hand via a variety of scenes from Americanah, especially those who because of demographic issues may have never or will never experience it, they will be prone to join the fight against discrimination in their daily lives. Virtual Reality is a great way for our audience to become uncomfortable enough to join the fight against discrimination of those who are different from them. Specifically in our VR project we will incorporate three different scenes to display discrimination in different ways. All scenes are adaptations from the book Americanah. We will feature the above described scene where Ifemulu faces discrimination in the hair salon, the scene where Emenike tells the story of the time he couldn’t catch a cab, and when Ifemelu are in the farmer’s market and a man tells her she looks like she’s from the jungle. Our VR experience will be set up that whoever is viewing the story is being discriminated against and it will be as if each story is occurring from their POV.

Sources:

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. Americanah. 2013.

Bates, Karen Grigsby. “92 Percent Of African-Americans Say Black Americans Face Discrimination Today.” NPR, NPR, 24 Oct. 2017, www.npr.org/2017/10/24/559889541/92-percent-of-african-americans-say-black-americans-face-discrimination-today.

Florido, Adrian. “There’s An Immigration Gap In How Latinos Perceive Discrimination.” NPR, NPR, 5 Nov. 2017, www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2017/11/05/561876519/theres-an-immigration-gap-in-how-latinos-perceive-discrimination.

Proposal: Joe, Will, Mark

 

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).”

The platform we chose to use is power point. The experience we are trying to create 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.

 

QUINTERO, y ANGELICA. “America’s Love-Hate Relationship with Immigrants.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 13 Jan. 2018, www.latimes.com/projects/la-na-immigration-trends/.

Proposal: Isabella and Jordan

 

 

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 (Chapter 15, pg 193). 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.

Proposal: Kelsey, Yina, Jess

This is our podcast cover.

One of the first symbols that we encounter in Americanah is Ifemelu’s hair. Ifemelu is self-conscious about her hair, so she visits a hair braiding salon to have her hair done and to also revisit a familiar culture. We chose these hair salon scenes because the hair salon highlights the culture of gossip and stereotypes. For example, in chapter one, Aisha, the hair braider who is working on Ifemelu’s hair says, “Igbo men take care of women real good… I want marry. They love but they say the family want Igbo woman. Because Igbo marry Igbo always.” Aisha is stereotyping Ifemelu’s ethnicity because she believes that the kind of men who are Igbo only marry Igbo women. In Ifemelu’s mind, she is criticizing Aisha’s close mindedness. Through our medium, we want to demonstrate the kind of gossip and criticism that is voiced in a hair salon.

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). “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. 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.

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

Pitch

Visual:

For our final assignment, Emma and I will be analyzing a scene that occurs in chapter 27 of Americanah. We decided that a comic strip would best to convey our message, as it could present a back-and-forth approach between characters. It will be able to show different viewpoints and can engage a multitude of audiences.

The inspiration for this scene comes from wanting to draw more attention to the social stigma that surrounds refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers in the country that they are trying to relocate to. The anxiety they feel and the emotional trauma that they experience as they assimilate, as well as wanting to feel comfort that they are seen and heard in their new country, rather than just be invisible. Specifically, in chapter 27, Obinze reads only American newspapers and magazines, instead of British ones that were focusing on issues revolving around immigration. Later, Obinze encounters a woman on a train reading a newspaper about immigrants, which causes Obinze to feel lonely, as well as made him recognize that those who are natively from the United Kingdom can deny their hand in colonization. Our assignment will follow a similar path by showing the viewpoint of someone trying to obtain citizenship. It will also show the viewpoint of someone who was born in the United Kingdom and their career as an immigration officer. There will be dialogue between the two characters are they attempt to navigate this complex interaction. Different avenues will be explored, such as personal feelings, immigration laws in the country, social stigma, priviledge, and anxiety. A source we can use, although it is based on immigration in the United States and Mexico, is the academic journal, “Felons, not Families”: Criminalized illegality, stigma, and membership of deported “criminal aliens,” by Heidy Sarabia. This journal outlines U.S. immigration in the 1990s as they deported “criminal aliens,” and the affect this approach has had on effectively criminalizing these individuals which creates “consequences for their identity,” (Sarabia 284). While this source is not ideal, it goes in-depth on the issues that deportation and citizenship have on the identity of an individual, as well as their “reputation” that can develop due to the language used in the media to describe them.

Sarabia, Heidy. “Felons, Not Families”: Criminalized Illegality, Stigma, and Membership of Deported “criminal Aliens.” Migration Letters, vol. 15, no. 2, Apr. 2018, pp. 284–300. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=129478304&site=eds-live&scope=site.