The story that needs to be told:
Taxi drivers come from everywhere and have so many different stories. they come from different regions, countries, cities and villages. Different religions, ethnicities, races and tribes. Different circumstances. Talking to them reveals the different push factors that cause people to migrate. Looking at this very focused group of [mostly] men is a window into human movement within the global village. Globalization is defined as the increased movement of ideas, goods, people and capital across international borders. Push factors are what cause people to leave their country of origin and pull factors are what attracts people to go to a certain country. The most powerful of both of these is economically based.
Most people who are leaving are escaping poverty and looking for greener pastures in the form of jobs elsewhere. Especially from Africa, other push factors include, religious, political or ethnic persecution. Before they come, many immigrants have certain perceptions of what their new life in America holds for them. An American dominated/centric popular culture propagated around the world through television, music and, more recently, the Internet sometimes isn’t the reality. Aspiring to the pseudo-glamorous life of what they see, some have very high expectations of this land of opportunity.
The purpose of this project is to delve into what happens when the rubber meets the road. Do those expectations and dreams about America match up with what the actual experience and reality is? The most popular immigrant narrative in America is that of the uneducated, poverty stricken, desolate and nuisance of an individual who is here using up tax-payer dollars. Although it may be true that some immigrants come from extreme poverty and were not afforded an education, that is not the entire story. Ngozi Chimamanda refers to the danger of a single story. Telling a single story leaves out the other stories that are part of the whole story. The unfortunate thing about story telling or, in the case of negative portrayals with sinister purposes, the propagation of propaganda is that it always has an agenda. Now don’t tune into the negative connotation of the word “agenda” – take it to mean the message serves a purpose to justify a certain belief or policy. There is an agenda for the one sided story of immigration, but with this project I too have an agenda.
My agenda is to show that what we often hear about the immigrant is true, but it is incomplete. You will meet individuals who came from very abject circumstances, but others who were attracted more by pull factors like better wages and access to education than fleeing famine or war. No matter what it is that brought them to America, no matter what their expectations were, better or worse, I want to see whether or not America has proven to be the land of opportunity. The opportunities they came here for as well as the ones that revealed themselves as an unintended consequence of being here.
The point being made is that even though there is more money to be made here and there is relatively better access to education and health care, perhaps life is still a struggle. The myth of the land of opportunity is that the said opportunities are inaccessible for recent immigrants who do not have the networks, connections and wealth that were built over decades ago… Much more to come in this conversation 🙂 Support and follow along for updates on IndieGoGo and TWITTER.
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Thank you ❤