The Danger of Embracing Negative Stereotypes – The “Othering” of a People

I often mention in my posts on this site that I am an immigrant to this great country. Recently, someone mentioned in a comment that by virtue of me being an immigrant, naturally, I’m biased when it comes to the issue of immigration reform as it’s debated. My position is that being from somewhere and retaining a semblance of self, gives you a unique world view. As such, it never surprises me to encounter people who look like me, who have adopted the anti-immigrant sentiments spewed by organizations funded by racists.

I found the following speech by novelist Chimamanda Adichie to be interesting, in that it speaks to just what I’m talking about. There’s a message in their somewhere, but I’ll leave it up to you to figure it out. She tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding. As I mentioned before, this to me, seems to be the main problem with any debate on immigration, and or immigration reform. Ultimately, though much of the debate is riddled with stereotypical negative views of an immigrant. Where we go wrong in doing so, is that we miss the opportunity to recognize that we’re all human, and are full of many similarities despite our cultural differences. Check it out and tell me what you got out of it: