To The Immigrants' Children
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Politics and Activism

To The Immigrants' Children

A few words of reminder to you.

To The Immigrants' Children

I know you guys probably cannot read or understand what I am talking about. This, however, is for the kids who are "fresh off the boat,' the kids that came here from their motherland and the kids who will spend much of their lifetime in this strange new land.

Much of the immigrant's dream is built for children's success. I don't have the statistics of how many succeed. Success is measured in a variety of ways, anyhow. I'm intrigued by the follow-up steps that occur after one has settled in a new land. To immigrant children I point out: your single mom or dad, your parents, or maybe some extended, but loving, family member sent you here to succeed and thrive. Or perhaps you were sent here as an escape from whatever was going on in your country. It's OK if you only tell us the former and not the latter, because we, as immigrants, will already have that one singular connection of being foreigners.

Except some of us, like myself, don't think of ourselves as foreigners anymore. We have lived here too long, to the point where even our native tongue became English. To the point where if we go back to our homeland, people will refer to us as foreigners. Where we also need help reading in our own language because somehow the English conquered our system.But it's fine, it's all right, there is a home for all of us and you still can think of your homeland as your true home. Or, you could say that both the new land and your old are your homes. It's your life, you live it. You pick which place is right for you. Sometimes though, you can't help but feel a subtle detachment from people. Whether they be from your birth country or the country you immigrated to. You feel too outlandish for the new one, yet you now feel a foreignness to your home country. Why is that? Maybe you have too much culture in you. Culture that was born into you, and a culture that you assimilated into. You are a strange amalgamation of cultures, basically a cultural chimera.

I would say that you might bear that burden, for a long, long time. Sometimes, you have to carry both cultures. Sometimes, you have to accept that you cannot keep only one part of the culture, especially when you are in another land. The more you live, the more you'll realize that it's not so bad, once you can figure out the good from the bad. When I think of culture, I also think of mannerisms and such, those little things that separate country from country. So, whenever I am in China, I would always try to show my relatives the best of American culture, and then vice versa.

Another thing to stress is that words of the English language for the older folks are like shards of glass. English words hurt them because they can't quite hold them steadily, unlike you will eventually. Everyone, at one point, will realize that languages are not similar to riding a bike or swimming. There's something fundamentally neurological about it, and very few people of an older age can grasp it. My parents are among these people. Which is why being in America was like being in a prison cell. So, please help them when they cannot read those "easy" English words, please help them make calls, talk to people and stand up for them.

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