ETHNOGRAPHY OF AN IMMIGRANT
An ethnographic study traditionally involves the researcher’s observation of people’s behavior either in person or alternatively through cameras installed in respondent residences or workplaces. The major difference between digital and traditional ethnographic studies is the tools the researcher use. Under traditional, the researcher may use notepads for taking short notes during interviews and even cameras. On the contrary, under digital ethnography, smartphones, social media, and online blogs are used. My research employed two scheduled interviews where I used notepads. The main objective of the research was to investigate Chi Anye’s personal opinions and interaction with concepts of migration, cultural identity, class, belonging, race and gender; and ultimately, the kind of influence and to what degree these concepts shape his life.
I went deep and personal with Chi Anye asking him about his life before he left Cameroon, Africa, for the higher nations like the US and France. Under this, I interviewed him on Cameroon’s social life of the people he at least interacted with and his community as a whole. I went further to dig about his former economic activities and what he did for a living; even how much he could make monthly. I did not hesitate to ask him about his family and what shaped their existence in the society. I questioned him about if he still had most of his homeland traditions, cultural beliefs, and language from his motherland Cameroon. I also inquired if these social traits are passed on to his children in the US.
The most intriguing question I asked so far, "do you and your family in the US struggle with the identity crisis? And of such, where do you feel you belong?" This question even made Chi Anye laugh considerably long and quiet for a while. I obtained very interesting responses to this set of questions as I'm soon to reveal in the paper. B. ” He reacted surprisingly well to this question because I was expecting him to be gloomy because maybe he wasn’t interested or motivated with the interview. He smiled instead, and audibly responded by saying, "I come from Yaoundé, and I speak English, French, Kirdi, Fulani, and Baka. My speaking five languages have made me take advantage of a large social diversity with people of different ethnic divides.
Back in Cameroon, I used to get blue collar jobs much more easily wherever I sought for one. Be it In Maroua, Garoua, Ngaoundere, Bamenda, Bafoussam and even in our largest city with mixed tribes Douala. He told me he used to read magazines a lot and that way he knew of this. It thus inspired him to travel to the US. He also knew that if he’d be successful in the US, then he’d transfer a good amount of his earnings to his family in Cameroon. He also said poor living conditions developed his urge to move to the US. The blue collar jobs he handled didn’t generate enough income to consistently improve his family’s living standards, so he opted to come to the US.
The community there, he says, has also very few cases of racism and that he freely interacts with all races, hence he has established a sense of belonging and acceptance. I can, therefore, deduce that in Chi Anye’s case as an immigrant, he has found a place of belonging and adopting a new life at ease in Parma Ohio US. However, Chi Anye feels that the US government tax system isn't fair to the immigrants as compared to citizens by birth. He wasn't clear on the details though, but said, "When taxes are due, that's when I normally have difficulty paying my bills because taxes drain me. " From that, I can conclude that the US tax system is against the immigrants as compared to citizens by birth.
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