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Vorschlag B

Aufgaben
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Immigration

Aufgaben
1.
Outline Andrea Levy's family background and her attitude towards her Caribbean heritage.
2.
Compare Andrea Levy's story to that of other immigrants living in the UK. Refer to material dealt with in class.
3.
In the internet article "Immigration debate: What [the] US could learn from Britain’s David Cameron" American columnist Cal Thomas says on December 4, 2014: "It isn’t xenophobic to suggest that immigrants ought to leave their political and other interests behind when they arrive in a new land. […] Immigrants who wish to become fully British or fully American are the kind of people our countries want."
Write an email to Cal Thomas, commenting on his view concerning immigration to the US.
#immigration
Material 2
$\;$
Andrea Levy: How I learned to stop hating my heritage (excerpt from an essay, 2014)
My dad was a passenger on the Empire Windrush[1] ship when it famously sailed into Tilbury in June 1948 and, according to many, changed the face of Britain for ever. My mum came to England on a Jamaica Producers’ banana boat. It sailed into the West India docks on Guy Fawkes night in the same year, under a shower of fireworks that my mum believed was to welcome her.
5
My dad was an accounting clerk in Jamaica for, among other companies, Tate & Lyle. My mum was a teacher. They were middle class. They had grown up in large houses. They had even had servants.
My dad did not have trouble finding work. He was employed by the Post Office. But my mum was not allowed to use her Jamaican teaching qualification to teach. In England, the fabled mother country that they had learned so much about at school in Jamaica, my parents were now poor and working class.
10
My family is fair-skinned. In Jamaica this had a big effect on my parents’ upbringing because the class system there, inherited from British colonial times, took the colour of your skin very seriously. My parents grew up to believe themselves to be of a higher class than any darker-skinned person. […]
My mum once told me how back in Jamaica her father would not let her play with children who were darker than her. She said wistfully: “But I had to, or I would have no one to play with.” So when she came to
15
England she was pleased to be bringing her children up among white children. […] I was expected to isolate myself from darker-skinned people too, and it seemed perfectly normal to me that the colour of your skin was one of the most important things about you. […]
Light-skinned or not, still we were asked: “When are you going back to your own country?” “Why are you here?” “Why is your food so funny?” “Why does your hair stick up?” “Why do you smell?” The message
20
was that our family had no right to be here. When a member of the National Front[2]waved one of their leaflets in my face and started laughing, I felt I owed some sort of apology. I wanted them to like me. It would be years before I realised I could be angry about it.
The racism I encountered was rarely violent, or extreme, but it was insidious[3] and ever present, and it had a profound effect on me. I hated myself. I was ashamed of my family, and embarrassed that they came from
25
the Caribbean.
In my effort to be as British as I could I was completely indifferent to Jamaica. […]
A few months into the course[4] I had the urge to visit Jamaica for the very first time and stay with the family I had never met. I went for Christmas. It was an amazing experience. I discovered a family I never really knew I had. I realised that I meant something to people who lived on the other side of the world. I met my
30
aunt and cousins and saw where my mum grew up. It seems odd to say, but I realised for the first time that I had a background and an ancestry that were fascinating and worth exploring. Not only that, but I now had the means to do it – through writing. The more that I began to delve into[5] my Caribbean heritage, the more interesting Britain’s Caribbean story became for me.
But the British Caribbean is a forgotten history. There are still countless young Britons today of African-
35
Caribbean descent who have as little understanding of their ancestry and as little evidence of their worth as I did when I was growing up. And there are countless white Britons who are unaware of the histories that bind us all together.
Britain made the Caribbean that my parents came from. It provided the people – black and white – who make up my ancestry. In return my ancestors, through their forced labour and their enterprise, contributed
40
greatly to the development of this country.
My heritage is Britain’s story too.
Andrea Levy: How I learned to stop hating my heritage, in: The Guardian, 03. 1.2014. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/03/how-i-learned-stop-hating-heritage (abgerufen am 30.03.2016).

Annotations
[1] Empire Windrush: Passenger liner which is best remembered today for bringing one of the first large groups of post-war West Indian immigrants to the United Kingdom in 1948
[2] National Front: a far-right political party in the UK
[3] insidious: heimtückisch
[4] A few months before Andrea Levy visited Jamaica for the first time she had enrolled in a writing class.
[5] to delve into: in eine Materie eintauchen, nachforschen
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Immigration

$\blacktriangleright$  1. Outline Andrea Levy's family background and her attitude towards her Caribbean heritage
  • parents came to UK around 1948
  • father accounting clerk, mother teacher $\rightarrow$ considered middle-class in Jamaica (grew up in large houses with servants)
  • in England, they were poor and working class because her mother's teaching qualification was not allowed
  • fair-skinned, parents believed they were of higher status due to that
  • was not allowed to play with darker-skinned children, mother was lucky to bring her children up among other white children
  • skin was one of the most important things about you
  • Levy wanted people to like her, even members of the National Front
  • used to be ashamed of her family and felt embarrassment that they came from the Caribbean
  • Levy grew indifferent to Jamaica
  • visited a writing class and was afterwards inspired to visit the country of her origins
  • recognizes that she has a background and an ancestry that are fascinating and worth exploring
  • after the visit, Levy started delving into her heritage and embraces it
  • her heritage is one of Britain's story as well
$\blacktriangleright$  2. Compare Andrea Levy's story to that of other immigrants living in the UK
Andrea Levy's story
  • middle-class parents came from Jamaica to England and became poor and working-class
  • parents look down on their own heritage and ancestry
  • don't want Andrea to play with darker-skinned people, are actually happy to be bringing up their children among white children
  • felt that skin is one of the most important things
  • Andrea had the feeling that she and her family did not have the right to be in England
  • wanted people to like her and thus accepted the comments that others made about her cultural heritage
  • took her years before she realized that she was supposed to be angry with that
  • was ashamed of her family and embarrassed that they came from the Caribbean
  • felt indifferent to Jamaica
  • finally embraced her ancestry and came to the conclusion that she belongs both to Jamaica and Britain, since Britain made Jamaica (where her parents came from) and since the Jamaicans contributed to the development of England as well
Miriam's story from "A Pair of Jeans" by Qaisra Shahraz
  • theme: conflict between first and second generation Asian immigrants Britain
  • Miriam - the protagonist - is caught between Asian and Western values and traditions
  • plot: Miriam is the daughter of two Pakistani immigrants in Britain, has adapted Western lifestyle (studies at university, goes out with friends, wears Western clothes), is engaged with Farook whose parents once see Miriam in Western clothes and then decide to break off the engagement
  • Miriam is angry at that whereas her mother seems to accept the decision
  • two endings: Miriam accepts decision of Farook's parents and thus rejects Western style clothes and system of values // Miriam takes things in her own hands and urges to tell Farook why his parents made that decision and suggests then that they should discuss the matter with his parents
Comparison
  • both Andrea and Miriam are second generation immigrants
  • both Andrea and Miriam hang out with friends their parents might not agree with (though out of different reasons)
  • theme: finding cultural identity (Andrea) vs. balancing between two cultural identities (Miriam)
  • conflict: racism as an obstacle in accepting cultural heritage vs. discrimination within own culture
  • parents are living Western values vs. parents have accepted Western values
  • first denial of ancestry, then embracing of ancestry vs. does only accept her ancestry by changing clothes in order to please her future parents-in-law, is aware of traditional Muslim expectations and tries to conform to them
    $\rightarrow$ Miriam has to divide herself into two halves, switches personalities rather than embracing her cultural heritage
    $\rightarrow$ different choices of clothing in the two different endings symbolize the choice between traditional Asian culture and the Western way of life
  • skin-colour matters vs. skin-colour is not an issue
  • ancestry is seen as an enrichment vs. ancestry is seen as dishonesty and is thus rejected, ancestry as confinement
$\blacktriangleright$  3. Write an email
Possible information for Introduction:
  • referring to statement, explanation of it
  • explanation of xenophobia
Main Part - Commenting on Cal Thomas view
Pro arguments (claiming that it is xenophobic to say that immigrants should leave political interests behind):
  • forced immigration: people are being forced to emigrate due to wars or prosecution
    $\rightarrow$ if people are forced to emigrate or immigrate they should not be forced to discard their political interests because it was not their decision to come to that specific country
Con arguments (claiming that it is not xenophobic to say that immigrants should leave political interests behind):
  • definition xenophobia: the fear and distrust of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange
    $\rightarrow$ politics is a publicly accessible issue and therefore cannot be considered to be foreign
  • xenophobia entails exclusion : being xenophobic means that people are being excluded from participating in a community
    $\rightarrow$ if immigrants would stick to their political interests, no one would exclude them
    $\rightarrow$ it is just a suggestion that Cal Thomas expresses
  • freedom of speech and expression : the US are a democratic country, freedom of speech and expression is the first amendment
    $\rightarrow$ hence, immigrants can have their political interests as long as they don't impose them on others
  • benefits : when becoming a citizen, immigrants gain access to certain welfare other benefits
    $\rightarrow$ they can actively influence what kind of benefits they gain by voting
Possible Conclusion:
  • agreeing or disagreeing with Cal Thomas' opinion
  • outlook on future
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Immigration

$\blacktriangleright$  1. Outline Andrea Levy's family background and her attitude towards her Caribbean heritage
The essay "How I learned to stop hating my heritage" by Andrea Levy from 2014 deals with her family background and her attitude towards her Caribbean heritage and how it changed over the years.
Andrea Levy's parents came to the UK around 1948 - her father being an accounting clerk and her mother being a teacher. In Jamaica, their country of origin, they were considered middle-class. Levy grew up in large houses with servants; in England, however, her family was poor and working class because her mother's teaching qualification was not allowed. Her parents believed that due to their fair skin, they were of higher status. In fact, Levy was not allowed to play with darker-skinned children and her mother was lucky to bring her children up among other white children. Skin was one of the most important things about a person. Yet, Levy didn't care about such things when she was a child, she just wanted people to like her, even those who were members of the National Front. Consequently, she grew ashamed of her family and felt embarrassment that they came from the Caribbean. So, she became indifferent to Jamaica in order to become her most British self. Yet, when Levy enrolled in a writing class, she felt the urge to finally visit her country of origin for the first time. There, she recognized that she has a background and an ancestry that are fascinating and worth exploring. After the visit, Levy started delving into her heritage and finally embraced it. Now, she believes that her heritage is one of Britain's story as well.
$\blacktriangleright$  2. Compare Andrea Levy's story to that of other immigrants living in the UK
Vorschlag B What Andrea Levy experienced is not an individual case - many immigrants have felt and might still feel the same way about their heritage. This is rather understandable since the culture a person has grown up with will just naturally be mixed with the culture of the country the person is immigrating into.
Andrea Levy's middle-class parents came from Jamaica to England and became poor and working-class. They looked down on their own heritage and ancestry and didn't let their children play with darker-skinned people. And actually, they were happy to be bringing up their children amongst white ones. Yet, all the time Andrea had the feeling that she and her family did not have the right to be in England. Due to this and the fact that she wanted people to like her, she accepted the comments that others made about her cultural heritage. It took her years before she realized that she was supposed to be angry with those comments. Though finally, she embraced her ancestry and came to the conclusion that she belongs both to Jamaica and Britain, since Britain made Jamaice - where her parents came from - and since the Jamaicans contributed to the development of England as well.
That assimilating can be hard and that it also takes a while of experimenting with the cultures one is exposed to shows the short story "A Pair of Jeans" by Qaisra Sharahz. It mainly deals with the conflict between first and second generatoin Asian immigrants in Britain. Miriam, the protagonist, is caught between Asian and Western vaues and traditions. She is the daughter of two Pakistani immigrants in Britan and has adapted the Western lifestyle, including studying at the university, going out with friends and wearing Western clothes. Yet, she dresses differently when she is in more traditional surroundings, f.ex. when she is meeting her fiancé's parents. When they once see her with her Western clothing - including an exposed midriff - they decide to break off the engagement which leaves Miriam furious. She is angry at her fiancé's parents whereas her mother simply seems to accept that decision. There are two endings: Miriam accepts the decision of Farook's parents and in turn rejects the Western clothes and system of values because she blames those two aspects for the calling off of her engagement. In the second ending, Miriam takes things in her own hands and urges to tell Farook why his parents made that decision and suggests then that they should discuss the matter with his parents.
Comparing Andrea Levy's situation wit Miriam's, it is quite clear that they face similar - yet still different - problems with their cultural identity. They are both second generation immigrants, yet Andrea'S parents are actually living Western values while Miriam's parents have only accepted the Western values. Whereas Andrea tries to find her cultural identity, Miriam has to balance between two cultural identities. Andrea's conflict shows that racism can be an obstacle in accepting one's own cultural heritage. Miriam somehow accepts her heritage by agreeing on an engaged marriage and by wearing traditional clothing but has difficulties with the discrimination within her own culture from her future parents-in-law. Andrea's way of dealing with her cultural identity is presented in a simpler manner than Miriam's. Andrea first denies her cultural ancestry and later on embraces it because she values her family in Jamaica. Miriam only accepts her ancestry by changing her clothes in order to please her future parents-in-law; also, she is aware of traditional Muslim expectations and tries to conform to them. Miriam basically has to divide herself into two halves and switches her personalities rather than embracing her cultural heritage. The different choices of clothing in the two different endings symbolize the choice between the traditional Asian culture and the Western way of life. In fact, Miriam sees her ancestry as dishonesty and thus feels rejected and confined by her ancestry. Andrea instead sees her ancestry as an enrichment.
#apairofjeans
Vorschlag B $\blacktriangleright$  3. Write an email
Dear Mr. Thomas,
In your article "Immigration debate: What [the] US could learn from Britain’s David Cameron" you claim that it is not xenophobic to suggest that immigrants should leave their political and other interests behind when they arrive in a new land. Also, the immigrants should feel the wish to become fully British or American. I believe that you are right in that opinion.
First of all, xenophobia is the fear and distrust of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange. I think that politics is a publicly accessible issue and therefore, it cannot be considered to be foreign. Also, xenophobia entails exclusion. Being xenophobic means that people are being excluded from participating in a community. If immigrants would stick to their political interests, I don't think that anyone would exclude them. In addition, the USA is a democratic country with freedom of speech and expression as the first amendment. Hence, immigrants can have whatever political interests they wish for as long as they don't impose them on others and as long as this doesn't threaten the national security. There are also benefits in fully embracing the "new" nationality or culture. When becoming a citizen, immigrants gain access to certain welfare or other benefits. Thus, they can actually influence what kind of benefits they gain by voting. Yet, I have to disagree with you in one point though. If people are being forced to emigrate due to wars or prosecution, they should not be forced to discard their political interests because it was not really their decision to come to that specific country.
Thank you for the insightful article, Mr. Thomas! It really helped me understand the issue of immigration and xenophobia on a deeper level. I am looking forward to reading more of your articles on this topic.
Best wishes,
Sophie Becker
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