Unnatural Causes: Becoming American

Unnatural Causes: Becoming American explores the lives of immigrants when arriving in America and what happens to their health over time. We learn in the video that immigrant groups coming to America bring aspects of culture, of tradition, of tight family social networks and community social networks that act as a barrier against negative impacts of American culture. However, over time those barriers can break down as some immigrants become more acculturated into American society. The video told us that after only 5 years in the U.S., Latino immigrants are one and a half times more likely to have high blood pressure than when they first arrived – and to be obese. The longer these immigrants are here, the more immigrant families struggle with discrimination, low-paying jobs, bad schools, and bad housing. It is very unfortunate to see these families struggle, when we see that they came to America in hopes of a better more prosperous life.

To think that if you live in an environment that is giving you cues that you’re not valuable, that you have very little prospect for a good future, eventually those negative affirmations start to build up and you internalize that devaluation. Additionally, Latinos from these immigrant groups, as they acculturate and the stress levels build over time, their children start to lose that sense of why it is that they are here. The hope starts to disappear. They’re getting more accustomed to the the American way of life, yet they’re losing that hopefulness that their immigrant parents brought with them that might actually be health-protective.

I think when immigrant groups move to America and live here for awhile, they start to gain the work is life mentality. If you are not working hard, then you are not making money. America puts so much pressure to make money and try to survive that is is slowly breaking peoples spirit and making them sicker. I think we need to take a seriously look at how we are living in America, because from what this video has shown us it is infectious. If immigrants are getting sicker by living here, what can we do to put a stop to this so that people who migrant here are not risking their health and ultimately their lives.


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