Anand Bhat Professor Adam Scott Eng 101 22nd September Response to the chapter in the strawberry fields

from the book Reefer Madness by Eric Schlosser

We were born on this planet free with no consciousness of labels or nationalities. We now live in a world were artificially created labels and identities mean more than who we are. A world where a laminated green card with an eagle on it can mean life or death for many. A world were a barricaded fence separate the haves and the have nots. This is the life of the immigrant; a constant fear of draconian laws and exploitation. A constant object of fear, hate and ridicule. Here toils the migrant laborer, toiling in his ancestral land. Every year thousands of people immigrate to the land of the free with a mad hope in their hearts and belief in the system. A system that has historically turned a blind eye while these migrants fought for scraps from the table of that very system that kept them subservient instead of self determined. A vast majority of these people speak no English and are willing to work for absurdly low amounts of money. These are fathers and mothers with a responsibility to many on the other side of the Rio Grande and will thus go to extraordinary lengths and endure profound injustices to do what must be done. They are the modern day breed of slaves, only this time they submit to servitude willingly without protest because they have no other choice.

According to Eric Schlosser the average migrant is a twenty nine year old male from Mexico, who earns less than seven thousand and five hundred dollars, a year for twenty five weeks of farmwork.According to one estimate, and his life expectancy is forty-nine years.Forty-nine years. That is how old an average American will be when his children are just about to get into college. An age when most Americans start planning for a long and comfortable retirement. Why are third world countries so poor and why do their citizens immigrate both legally and ‘illegally’ in such large numbers? Third world countries are rich places that have massive amounts of natural resources. They have a glorious history of innovation and have contributed immensely to the human race. Yet centuries of imperialist control and continued embargos push them deeper and deeper in poverty. Much as I love America and her people the American government has for long built a vast number of puppet democracies in countries like Peru, Republica Dominicana, Nicaragua, and Ecuador amongst a host of other Latin American and South American countries. Apart from all of this American multinationals like Walmart have setup sweatshops in China and India. In conclusion, Strawberry fields exposes but a mere sliver of the immigration issue. As thorough as Eric Schlosser is with his investigation and reporting; he has but hit the tip of the iceberg. The chapter is poignant and angers those who know what it feels like to be considered an unnecessary and sometimes undesirable part of an American society that has been raised to believe that outside of America live sub humans who deserve their unfortunate circumstances. We are led to believe that exploiting these people makes us prosperous and that our imperial ways are a necessary evil.

There are no immigrants or natives. When stripped down to the very basics we are all humans who just want a better life for those we care about.

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