What does it mean to be an immigrant in today’s America? As an immigrant, I know I have never looked over my shoulder as much as I have in the past year or so. In spite of immigrating to America a month before 9/11, I felt safe and welcomed. As a brown person in America, I felt secure. I had instances when someone told me how lucky I was to be in California because I would not be safe elsewhere. This conversation happened as I asked someone in a bus stop what that bird was. He answered “sea gull” and offered words of warning on being brown in America post 9/11. Did I fear for myself or my family- No, because I felt safe. This was a one off situation that I could care less for.
Fast forward to sixteen years later, a green card and sixteen years on the American soil- I never thought I would be looking over my shoulder as much as I do now. I never thought I would witness the current state of affairs here. With every terrorist attack or every gun massacre, I sit on the edge of my seat praying and hoping that person was not an immigrant. Why? because I am scared that would create a new law banishing immigrants, a new travel ban or a new immigration policy. In spite of being a green card holder, I feel less secure than I felt walking the streets with a visa stamp on my passport as an American Alien.
As the world was going through major changes- Donald Trump becoming the President of the United States of America and immigrants and refugees were being cornered, America Deconstructed has been trying to get published. When we began this little project our motive was simple- we were not trying to change the world, we were hoping to show a glimpse into the immigrant world- our world. We wanted people to know the intricate details of being an immigrant beyond visa stamps, the sacrifice, the humor, trials and ultimately tribulations. Did we want you to sympathize with them? Absolutely not! We just wanted you to join us on this little ride called immigrant life.
The last few months changed the focus of our book. We went from writing a book for entertainment to realizing this book had to be published now. We realized America Deconstructed could show immigrants in a positive light beyond the laws and policies. We started a crowdfunding campaign to gather pre-orders so publishers can be interested in our little project. We have been told to self publish and we could use Amazon to do it easily. We want this book to be published and receive the attention it deserves. Please click on the link below and pre-order this book.
As I was brainstorming ideas on what my first blog post ought to be, the creative person in me wanted to find an appropriate definition for immigrants in America. I found some cool ones which had the perfect definition on who an immigrant is- someone who left their country for another one. I also found ones where immigrants were portrayed as damsels in distress who were lured from their home countries into America. While that definition makes America seem like a predator lurking around the corner, we weren’t lured into America. We came here on our own terms because America was the land of opportunities. I say we because I am an immigrant who was lured into America by her parents. I grew up in India until I turned seventeen when I finally moved to America or California to be precise. California is the epitome of the melting pot culture that America stands for. Yet, even people in California have their preconceived notions about immigrants. I have been mistaken to have been born in America because I speak good English. I have been asked if I took a shower on the street in India because CNN or BBC decided to show slums in India as India to the world. I am not the only one who has had to battle these misconceptions. Most immigrants irrespective of their race, ethnicity, color of their skin have had to battle these misconceptions. Thus was born America Deconstructed the book and America Deconstructed blog.
America Deconstructed began as a conversation between two friends who joked about the misconceptions they faced as immigrants. Those college conversations took shape into a book years later. For the book we interviewed sixteen immigrants and have written about their journey into America and the life that followed. There are confusing coffee shop runs, to go or take out, Taliban, war, marriage, kids and even death. The book covers the human side of immigration and is filled with funny, embarrassing situations, humor, heartbreak and tears. We do not care about laws and policies. We care about the human experience behind immigration. America Deconstructed blog follows the same format of quirky cultural differences. If you want a light hearted, fun blog filled with loads of quirkiness to brighten your day or night, follow us. We strive to satisfy!