Unnatural Causes: Becoming American

I thought this film did an amazing job of using one family’s situation as a way to show a greater trend. Because of the stresses of being in America such as poverty or working too many hours, many immigrants that come here experienced decreased health from their home country. Amador is a perfect example of this issue. Coming from Mexico and now working 7 days a week on a mushroom farm, and has developed health issues since beginning this new lifestyle. Another problem with this decreased health is that immigrants are significantly less likely to go see a doctor and therefore some of these problems can go undiagnosed. Not only does their health decrease when they come here, but it continues to deteriorate as they are here. I thought it was interesting that the reasoning behind this might stem from them losing hope. As they are here for longer they are more rooted in the American culture and lose the hopefulness that they had when first arriving in this country.

What I found most fascinating about this episode was the significance of community/support. As people immigrant they tend to live with other family members or people they knew from their home country. They develop extremely strong ties with these people which gives them an immense about of support. They have instrumental as well as emotional support. As we discussed in class, I think if there is anything we can learn from these immigrants it is the importance of community and how important it is to be resilient through hard times. These support systems form a “shield” around these families to hopefully help lessen the negative impacts from the culture around them. I believe that as Americans we tend to be very individualized and being lonely can hurt our health. If we aim to be a more community driven society, I believe it would have more benefits than most people think.

Lastly, I think the effects of isolation presented in this film were astonishing. Isolation can lead to increased risk for infections, diabetes, cardiac issues, cancer, and more. People are more isolated in our country than ever before and it is only going to have negative effects on the country’s health. Growing up in America, I guess I am used to the culture we live in but after traveling abroad and seeing many other cultures, it is certainly clear that we do have less of a sense of community. Everyone is so focused on working as many hours as possible and getting ahead of the person next to them. I think it is sad to think that we are not taking advantage of the amazing communities we have. Being in college I feel spoiled because I think that the college environment has more of a sense of community than the “real world”. There are constantly events going on to bring the students together and incredible resources offered to try to help everyone succeed. When I graduate I hope to take some of this sense of community with me!

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