UnexpectedDreams in a Small City
Changeis inevitable in life, and despite the challenges that mightaccompany it, placing one’s values in action makes anythingpossible regardless of the current situation. The settlement of therefugees in Clarkston was a dream to them because they hoped to findopportunities and make their lives better. Clarkston was also a quiettown, and the people lived in harmony with each other. Moreover, thehandful of Caucasian residents that lived in that area were used totheir way of life, and most of them knew each other. The originalinhabitants of Clarkston never imagined that dramatic change wouldcome to their town following the influx of refugees, and alter theirapproach to life. The resettlement of the refugees in Clarkstonchanged the way of life in the small city, and the immigrants’belief systems conflicted with the values of the town’s originalinhabitants.
Severalaspects made Clarkston an appropriate area for relocating refugees.“One of the reasons the officials were interested in Clarkston wasthat there were apartments complex available that were not occupied,which were ideal for the resettlement of the new coming refugees”(34). Clarkston’s original inhabitants were probably used to theserenity of the town and their accustomed lifestyle considering thatthe area’s population was small. Other factors that explain theselection of Clarkston as a resettlement area for the refugeesinclude the high demand for laborers at construction sites,restaurants, and firms. The refugees, therefore, saw Clarkston as theplace where they had the opportunity of achieving their goals. “Theyused the available transport methods such as buses and rail to andfrom work” (35). It is evident that the Clarkston community was notused to the transformation that the refugees introduced in the area,but that was part of the change process, and they could do littleabout it. The resettlement led to the increase in the town’sdiversity, as well as the introduction of new lifestyles andcultures, and this presented changes in Clarkston. For instance, theoriginal inhabitants of Clarkston were concerned about the increasein issues related to crime mainly involving the refugees. Most ofClarkston’s original inhabitants were not accustomed to the way oflife of the refugees, and this is what could have made them considermost of their activities as illegal.
Everyregion has its values and belief systems, and what is deemed to bewrong in one area might be right somewhere else. “Clarkson receivedimmigrants from over 50 countries” (36). The new arrivals evidentlychanged the small town’s makeup, and the manner in which theinhabitants responded to the refugees’ way of life determinedwhether they would live in harmony. Some of the belief systems thatthe refugees had and the cultures they practiced could be consideredillegal in the United States. For instance, some of the refugeesthought it was normal to practice “Female circumcision, notrespecting traffic rules, and touching police officers” (38, 39,and 40). Besides, “there were activities such as killings for whatis considered minor issues and post-traumatic stress” (39), andthis resulted in violent activities among the immigrants. The beliefsystems of some of the refugees could have made them consider suchactions as normal. However, the original residents of the town had tospeak out about these issues to the authorities and make requests tostop the influx of the refugees. Clarkston’s inhabitants could havehelped the refugees to settle and adapt to the life there if theyunderstood the reasons for their actions.
Theresettlement of the refugees in Clarkston changed the way of life inthe small city, even though the original inhabitants were used to thetown’s serenity and their accustomed lifestyle. TheClarkston community was not used to the transformation in the towndue to the resettlement of the refugees, but that was part of thechange process, and they could do little about it. Besides, some ofthe refugees’ belief systems and the culture they practiced couldbe considered illegal in the United States. The actions that some ofthe refugees regarded as normal were not taken lightly by Clarkston’soriginal inhabitants and the residents had to speak out about theseissues to the authorities.
St.John, W. (2014). OutcastsUnited: A Refugee Team, an American Town.New York: HarperCollins Publishers.