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Dollars and Dreams - Essay Example

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Running Head: DOLLARS AND DREAMS: WEST AFRICANS IN NEW YORK 1 Dollars and Dreams: West Africans in New York: A Review Name Class Date Dollars and Dreams: West Africans in New York: A Review The United States has many opinions in the global population about the way in which Americans believe and live…
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Dollars and Dreams

Download file to see previous pages... There are still others that see it as a land of waste and consumerism where the abundance is so overflowing that there is not enough space to hold all that is produced and thrown away. The truth that it is a place of hardship where people work hard to barely survive is rarely the worldwide perception of the American Dream. The film Dollars and Dreams: West Africans in New York (2007) is a documentary that discusses the experience and phenomenon of immigration from West Africa to the United States. The documentary film makers explore the truth of life in New York for those who have migrated from West Africa into what they thought would be an easier and more successful life. Through a narrative that includes successful, surviving, and struggling immigrants from West Africa, the film creates an alternative perspective on the experience of living in New York and in the United States. The producers of the film were Jeremy Rocklin an Abdel Kader Ouedarogo with Jeremy Rocklin directing and it is distributed by Documentary Educational Resources. One of the first statements made in the film is by Chika Onyeani who is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of The African Sun Times is that there is a perception that in America money grows on trees. CEO of Cape Aloe Ferox Worldwide, Arthur Smith, states in the film that the dollar is almighty and that they think it is easy in America and Zain Abdullah of Temple University reveals that the first surprising thing that immigrants from West Africa experience is that there is poverty in America and that it is not as easy to find riches in the land of opportunity. The concept of opportunity becomes more real in the sense that while there may be opportunity, one has to search and find it (Rocklin & Ouedarogo, 2007). Zain Abdullah continues to discuss the culture of immigrants as they live a life of deception where they struggle by working two or three jobs, but then present their experiences to those back home as fulfilling the expectations that they had when they left their home to travel to the new land. The deception is based on the perceptions that are promoted in West Africa that there is nothing but riches in the United States and to go to America and struggle would be perceived as a failure. Abdullah states that it is like going into a gold mine and coming out with nothing to show for the effort (Rocklin & Ouedarogo, 2007). Kaira-Murdock (2008) writes that the reason that Jeremy Rocklin an Abdel Kader Ouedarogo decided to create this documentary was to create a more realistic view of New York for West Africans before they made the decision to migrate from their homeland and seek their fortunes. The realities of New York and the rate of poverty, even among the working poor, is something that is not considered when making the decision to move. The film is visually unsettling as the garbage in the street and the unattended urban setting is contrasted to the affluent speakers who discuss the realities of moving to New York, even though the majority of the initial speakers have clearly found their own success in this country. The real problem with immigration from other nations is that the image of America is based upon Hollywood idealism that is shown in films. Racism based on blackness is rare in West Africa so the experience of being oppressed comes as a surprise for many of the people who move to New York. Kaira-Murdock (2 ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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