Are Immigrants Just a Number?

Upon reading Shaun Tan’s The Arrival for a second time, I noticed the purpose of stylistic choices a bit more. After an emotional scene created by the main immigrant character’s meaningful relationships, the book zooms away from the man who it focuses on. As a result, the reader only sees a collective of people with no distinctive qualities. This made me think about how we tend to forget about the thread of humanity that holds us together; sometimes immigrants are viewed as just a statistic, rather than people with their own individual stories.

All of us are human beings that feel emotions, have lived through a lot, and hold loved ones close to the heart. Then, why do we have so much hate in this world? I feel as if this hate comes through de-humanizing. One must forget about the fact that the person that he or she is hating on is not so different after all. Everyone has their own life story and experiences that cannot vary too much from that of the next person. Does one not get hurt when insulted? It is too easy to hurt someone else, for we cannot truly experience what the other is feeling. For example, in boxing, you cannot fully comprehend the damage you are doing; the closest thing is getting hit back and deducing the amount of pain you yourself inflicted through that.

I began to think about this for a bit. It’s a lot easier to hate someone if you don’t really view them as equal to you, as a fellow human being. If you disregard the fact that he or she has been through a lot/has a capacity for kindness and focus on your own problems instead, then there should not be a problem. Mentally, you’re free to fire away. This may be idealistic, childish even, but I believe that once the culture of “other-izing” changes, many of the social injustices plaguing the U.S. can be easily solved.

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