Refugees In Warren St. John's Outcasts United

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Can’t we all just get along? The American dream is the belief that anyone, regardless of birthplace, social class, or economic class, can attain success in the American society. Sadly, countless people will never achieve success in this society because they are foreign born. In Warren St. John’s book Outcasts United, St. John sheds light onto the numerous hardships that the tiny American town of Clarkston faces when thousands of refugees attempt to create a brand-new life there. At first Clarkston stood completely divided by original residents and refugees, but it wasn’t until the refugees and old residents saw past their physical differences of language, culture, and past life experiences that Clarkston began to thrive. Although the majority…show more content…
In Clarkston, St. John noticed that “refugees and locals went through their days in full view of each other… but the two groups rarely interacted. Instead, they lived among the border of two inaccessible, but transparent worlds, separated by some invisible border, like birds from fish” (144). Even though the refugees and locals were in the same area, they still lived in two completely different worlds. Each group had their own struggles with this new community; “What [the locals] missed was precisely the simplicity and clarity that had once characterized a place where everyone looked the same, spoke the same language, and went to the same church” (186). Once the refugees began to spill into Clarkston the locals no longer felt welcome because they couldn’t recognize the town outside their front porch. Meanwhile, the refugees are struggling to fit into American customs. Growing up in a completely different culture made the move to America incredibly difficult. One example from Outcasts United that occurs is African families must learn to discipline their children in different ways. One mother said, “In Africa, when you tell your kid something and he doesn’t want to listen, you will beat him… but here, nothing, you cannot do that” (124). This discipline issue is a massive problem because while the…show more content…
The refugees are promised a new life in America, one where they have food and a safe home. The American dream is different for everyone, but many refugees believe that America is a magical place. One of the young refugee boys is Outcasts United described his thoughts of what America would be like using an invisible wand. He said, ““We thought America would be like this… “Soda!” … then, flicking the wand again: “Food!””” (148). When refugees first move to America they believe that their poor and destroyed life is completely put behind them. The sad awful truth is that they have to face poverty in this new life too. Refugees aren’t the only people who feel their dream are crushed in America. There are many other groups from inside America that feel this sense of hopelessness too. It is very difficult for a person who grows up in poverty to get a great education and find a good paying job. Luckily, most of the world around these people are adapting and trying to help them. In Outcasts United there is only one church in Clarkston and once the locals start to move away the church begins to suffer and can’t pay their bills. The pastor of the church had to find a successful way to bring in money again and it had to be quick. “The solution, he argued, was that the church remake itself as an explicitly international congregation that reflected the diversity outside its doors” (176). Once the church

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