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Look at Me

Am I American enough for you? asks Uzodinma Iweala.

Am I American enough for you? asks Uzodinma Iweala

I'm tired of Americans questioning my "Americanness."In March of last year, I flew into the United States via London on British Airways. After landing in Washington, D.C., I found myself face to face with a U.S. Customs Service officer. His shoulders slouched. His belly hung over a belt heavy with a radio, shiny handcuffs, and a black gun. Even his handle bar mustache seemed to sag."Passport," he said, without looking at my face.I handed him my navy blue American passport with its golden eagle stamped on the cover. He opened it, flipped through, and then said rather rudely, "So why are you here?""Excuse me?" I asked, unsure of how to respond to his question. "Uh... I live here?""Look, son. Why are you here?" he asked again with more of an edge to his voice. My passport quivered in his hand.I tried again, "I live here."It's only when his fleshy fingers slid along his belt and came to rest just atop the black handgrip of his gun that I realized he was asking a very different question. He had seen the name of a foreigner stamped inside an American passport and wondered why I had citizenship in his country.On the surface, the immigrant or children of immigrants from the developing world may seem to face the same challenges as the wave of European immigrants who came before us. Differences in language and culture provide an obstacle to assimilation into mainstream American society, but there is one issue that makes our immigrant experiences profoundly different than those of European immigrants of the early twentieth century: the way we look. Unlike white Europeans, many of whom look just like white Americans, the African, Asian, Latin American or Middle Eastern immigrant, for the most part, does not fit America's picture of itself. Thus we have a much harder time gaining acceptance into this supposedly welcoming country.America definitely has difficulty accepting non-white Americans as real Americans. No matter how long you have lived in the States, if you don't have white skin, the public automatically assumes you aren't fully American. During the 1998Winter Olympic Games, MSNBC ran a headline announcing Tara Lipinski's win over Michelle Kwan: "American Beats out Kwan." Never mind that Michelle Kwan was born in Torrence, California. Never mind that she had never lived in any other country. What makes Tara Lipinski more American than Michelle Kwan? Both come from immigrant families. Both represented the United States very well in the Olympics. And yet the media, which ran a similar headline during the 2002 Salt Lake City games, seems to have a different idea.On a personal note,I have been told countless times, when I've been critical of the United States, "If you don't like it, you should just go back to where you came from." My response: "You mean to Potomac, Maryland?"Granted, new immigrant families complicate matters by holding on to cultures and traditions from abroad. I have often heard other Americans say of people like me, "They don't want to be like us. They just want to use what we have without giving anything back." While I will be the first to admit that immigrant communities need to reach out to other Americans, it's a little absurd to expect us to do all the work. As has been said before, the ideas that we bring from abroad help to make America great. Furthermore, the majority of immigrants who come to the United States, whether legally or illegally, make major contributions to the country, economically and otherwise. The founder of Ebay - now an American - was born in Paris to Iranian parents. And how many immigrants have become citizens after giving their lives fighting for the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan? How many immigrants would do that for any other country?Immigration is a wonderful thing that must, of course, be managed properly. I understand that all countries need to regulate the influx of people. But America is strong because its policy of acceptance has allowed different people with different languages, cultures, and ideas to exist together in society.So to get back to the officer and his question: "Why are you here?"I said, "Sir. I'm tired. I'm hungry. I just want to go home."
Articles
Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

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Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

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September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

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via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

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via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

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