I choose the article called “What are the Predominant Stereotypes about Immigrants Today?” which was written by the “Re-imagining migration” (UCLA) because I hear and read on social media many well-established prejudices against immigrants such as “Immigrants are lazy, they don’t integrate and they live off welfare.” However, I believe that we have to show more compassion to the immigrants and that there should be awareness for the plight of refugees, and the callous way we treat them. We all have prejudices and many of our prejudices are informed by stereotypes-generalized ideas and images about groups of people. Our views of immigrants are often influenced by myths. People often spout opinions that are not backed by factual evidence. I strongly stand by the fact that we have to debunk some myths about asylum seekers.
The first prejudice that the article brings up is: crime and terror. Many people today are concerned and afraid that immigrants are bringing crime and terror to the new country. Undocumented immigrants especially from Latin America, are depicted as “rapists, violent criminals and murderers”, whereas immigrants from the Middle East have been demonized as “terrorist.” The first word that came up to mind when thinking about immigrants, was “illegal”. However, evidence proves that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than of non-immigrants.
The second prejudice is that Immigrants are now viewed as an economic burden. Many claim immigrants take jobs away from their native-born citizens. According to 50% of adults in the U.S., immigrants make the economy worse. It has been said that the cause of unemployment is immigration and that they don’t contribute to Social Security, yet they benefit from public services.
The third and last prejudice is the concern about integration. Much has been said in the current crisis about immigrants who refuse to learn English and that they are unwilling to fully invest and integrate into the new society. They are being accused of divided loyalties. Yet, their children are interested to English and they give up the language of their parents.
I recognize multiple links of elements we discussed in Folder 4. Firstly, when we had to refute the unsubstantiated statements about immigrants in the U.S. In that exercise we had to rephrase the myths. These myths are comparable to the prejudices in the article. The myth about high crime rates and the myth about immigrants taking jobs from Americans, are very common in the popularly. The prejudice about immigrants coming to the U.S. for welfare benefits, is not true. Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for federal benefits programs. I think highly of checking the facts before we get influenced on what we see, read and hear in the community. I believe that we have can understand the world better if we do our own research into where the science behind the story comes from, who has carried it out and where it is published.
The article states that there is a problematic association of the word ‘illegal’, and we read a text about this issue. We even had to write down the first words that came to mind with the word ‘refugee’. Almost everybody had negative words such as illegal, poor, war,… In the text that we read in class, we learned that it is important to appreciate the power of collocations because when we begin to read or hear certain words, our brains begin a process of word association. Sometimes we need to heed the power of collocations. For example, both ‘migrant’ and ‘immigrant’ have become collocalised with the word ‘illegal’.
I think that we have to show more compassion to the immigrants and that the media and some people have to stop the callous, harsh way they treat them. I believe that society need to stop sticking harmful labels on immigrants. They are running for their life because they are looking for a better living environment, and they go to lengths to reach their goal. We have to stop with the generalizing of immigrants. I am sure that not everybody has correct intentions, for example in the article there is concern about the flourishing of criminal gangs in the U.K. and religion (specifically Islam) but there could also be someone like Ekeh who we discussed in class. He was accepted to all eight Ivy League universities, and he wants to realize the American dream. We have to give these kind of people the opportunity to get a better life, and contribute to the prosperity of our countries.