Siyavash Bahariyan Dr. B. Hoida ENG1B
14 November 2021
Songs and Immigration
People move from one place to the other due to different reasons. Some move due to job-related reasons, others travel for leisure, while others for educational reasons. However, movement across countries is not usually guaranteed because of challenges that are likely to occur when relating with immigration officers and related government departments. The study proposes to discuss the factors that derail immigration practices and how this deter people from exercising their freedom of movement. Many nations have laws and policies that guide inflow and outflow of people in and out of the country, but it appears that people still encounter challenges even they meet all qualifications. The study will examine how artists contribute towards finding a suitable solution to the problem through their compositions that address the matter creatively.
The study examines how various artists address the pressing social problem of immigration difficulties that deter some people from moving across borders as they would desire. Referring to the artistic compositions by various artists helps to understand how much the issue is a concern to many people who have encountered unfair encounters that denied them the chance to enter into a foreign country despite having all the relevant documentation. Referring to different songs presents a better chance to acquire a wider view of the matter, and to understand why it requires urgent mitigation. The research presents a wider perception of the problem by referring to songs by artists from different countries who sing different genres. Statement of Research Problem
The problem is that many people encounter significant constraints moving across international borders, which deny them the chance to enjoy their freedom of movement. In many scenarios, people fail to move across borders because of social injustices such as racial discrimination. In addition to racial injustice, many people fail to pass across international borders because of unkind immigration officers who interrogate travelers causing much inconveniency even when they have all the needed documents.
However, such constraints cause inequalities in the way people exercise their freedom of movement. Such social issues compel some people to cancel important trips while others face humiliations that degrade their personality. It is because of such problems why some people indulge in corrupt dealings to get their way across international borders. Unfortunately, when immigration officers take bribes to allow some people to pass through the border it is common to witness instances where unlawful goods make their way. For example, some may smuggle guns, extinct animals, drugs, and animal tusks. Hence, there is need to address the matter effectively through various approaches, including urging artists to speak up against such injustices.
Essential Research Questions
The essential research question is “what are the leading factors about immigration and its implications, and how does music provide an opportunity to address the matter and find long-lasting remedies that facilitate how people move from one place to the other without obstructions?” The research question seeks to examine various key elements regarding the issue of immigration. One of the critical components of the research question is to assess factors that cause immigration issues and to understand how they derail movement from one place to the other. The research question also seeks to examine how music addresses the matter and how artists contribute towards finding amicable solutions to the social concern.
Songs and Artists Considered
Mathangi Arulpragasam commonly known as M.I.A. is a British artist. She has a Sri Lankan decent parents but they moved to Sri Lanka. She experienced significant constraints during the Sri Lankan Civil War that forced her family to relocate to London when she was eleven years old. Among her many songs that call for social, economic, and political freedom, “Paper Planes” (2009) particularly addresses the issue of immigration and how she finds it entering the U.S. because of her racial difference. The artist uses symbolic expressions to express her point and the audience must be keen to get the targeted meaning. The artist says “I fly like paper, get high like planes, If you catch me at the border I got visas in my name, If you come around here, I make ’em all day, I get one done in a second if you wait” (M.I.A.). The lyrics describe how immigration officers engage the artist in extended conversations despite having legal documentation. The song adequately addresses the issue of injustices associated with immigration, thus making it a suitable choice to for the research.
“Clear Isabel” (2017) by Aaron Watson is suitable for the study because it examines the possible challenges associated with moving across one international border to the other. Aaron, an American county music composer and singer makes trips across the world advocating for emancipation from possible oppression. In “Clear Isabel” (2017) describes how racial differences could deter some people from moving through international borders because of their race. The song tells the story of a girl called Isabel and her father who try to enter Texas from Mexico hoping to find better life but do not make it because of the obstacle they encounter from security agents who question their whereabouts. Watson says “I hear the grass is greener just beyond that Laredo border line, And they say that freedom is much sweeter than sweet blood, red sangria wine, South Texas looks like heaven when you’re down here in this living hell, So come on let’s cross that Rio, the coast is clear Isabel” (Watson). The lyrics show how Isabel and her father hope to find a better life in the U.S. The artist further says that “The sheriff came across her father, they treated him like an outlaw on the run” to show how the police handle his father with much indifference because of her race.
Richie Spice whose real name is Richell Bonner in a reggae artist from Jamaica. The member of the Rastafari movement has joined the ranks of other renowned reggae artists such as Bob Marley because of his composition of songs that advocate for freedom and liberation from social, economic, and political oppression. Richie Spice’s song “Di Plane Land” describes how upon arriving at an airport, the immigration officers scatters his personal belongings thinking that he is smuggling drugs. Immigration officers interrogate Richie Spice for many hours and treat him indifferently because of the black color of skin. The artist says “Di plane land yes di plane land, Make up mi mind to face di immigration, Di plane land yes di plane land, Saggle up miself we take interrogation, Search dem ah search, Dem ah search fi Taliban, Searching mass destruction, Dash weh (away) mi tooth paste” (Richie Spice). The lyrics illustrates how the officers search his headscarf hoping to find bombs and other deadly weapons to further illustrate how racial discrimination makes it difficult to move across international borders. The song through its message seeks to sensitize immigrant officers and other relevant authorities to consider how they treat people from other nations, especially when entering where races clash.
Examining the different songs reveal significant connections between them. One of the common similarities is that artists in all the songs experience hurdles crossing international borders because of their racial status. The other similarity is that all artists encounter problems when moving from one international border to the other. Thus, it is apparent that racial difference is one of the reasons why some people encounter constraints moving from one place to the other. The message from the three songs also indicate that it is common to encounter immigration problems when moving across international borders as opposed to when moving across local borders. Thus, the research will address the need to mitigate constraints in these two areas that deny people the chance to move from one place to the other without encountering oppositions. The songs seem to call for changes in policies that govern immigration practices to avoid instances where some people cannot move freely because of their race.
Part II – Bibliography
Aaron Watson. “Clear Isabel.” YouTube, April 19, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nspHw6_u2ms Accessed 10 Nov. 2021.
“Clear Isabel” (2017) is a song about a Mexican family that aspires to move into the U.S. hoping to find a better life. However, they cannot enter the territory because they encounter officers who derail their entry into South Texas. The source is suitable for the research because it expresses an artist’s dissatisfaction with the handling of immigration practices, thus creating the urge to make necessary adjustments. Incorporating the song in the research will help to show why immigration practices still require significant transformation to facilitate trans-border movements. Furthermore, using the song will illustrate how the issue affect many individuals some who decide to go public about their concerns.
Caputi, Jane. “The Real “Hot Mess”: The Sexist Branding of Female Pop Stars: Gender, Branding, and the Modern Music Industry: The Social Construction of Female Popular Music Stars. by Kristin J. Lieb, New York, Routledge, 2013. 194 Pp. $29.95 (Paperback) ISBN:978-0-415-89490-6.” Sex Roles, vol. 70, no. 9-10, 2014, pp. 439-441. ProQuest,journals/real-hot-mess-sexist-branding-female-pop-stars/docview/1531890706/se- 2?accountid=39855, doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11199-014-0362-z.
The source shows the roles female pop singers play in presenting various apprehensions. It appears in the source that female pop stars demonstrate women as being able to sing and address many concerns in the society that do not go well. The source inspires other female artists to write songs that highlight various subjects. Using the source will help to understand how expressing ideas as a singer has no limitations based on gender and anyone can call for change regardless of their sex. The source helps to understand that both males and females have the choice to address societal issues that they think require considerable attention. Consequently, the research will show the need for artists to stand up against oppressions in the society.
Harrington, Richard. “M.I.A., no Loss for Words: [FINAL Edition].” The Washington Post, Sep 16, 2005. ProQuest, https://ezproxy.saddleback.edu/login?url=https://www.proquest.com/newspapers/m-i-no-loss-words/docview/409910935/se-2?accountid=39855. Accessed 10 Nov. 2021.
The source is about the life of M.I.A starting her childhood. The author refers to many songs by the artist such as “Pull Up the People” (2005) where the composer uses rhythmic words to express her ideas. Reading the source helps to understand M.I.A.’s journey, which appears to comprise of many ups and downs. The source informs how M.I.A. in most of her songs talk about political and cultural matters. Incorporating the source in the research will provide an opportunity to compare “Paper Plane” with other M.I.A.’s songs.
M.I.A. Takes ‘AIM’ at A Global Message. NPR, Washington, D.C., 2016. ProQuest, https://ezproxy.saddleback.edu/login?url=https://www.proquest.com/other-sources/m-i-takes-aim-at-global-message/docview/2046160863/se-2?accountid=39855. Accessed 10 Nov. 2021.
The source is a dialogue between David Greene, a reporter who was employed by NPR, and
M.I.A. The artist describes the story of her life commencing from when she was young. She describes the meanings of various songs she has produced and the accomplishments she has made during her profession as a singer. Through the interaction, it becomes apparent that M.I.A.’s songs mostly focus on productions that call for social change. The interaction with
M.I.A. provides adequate insight into what artists go through and what they do to address the social injustices that deny some people their rights and freedoms. Through the source, the research will not only benefit from the directives by M.I.A. but will gain a wider perception of what other artists think about the issue of immigration among other social concerns.
M.I.A. “Paper Planes.” YouTube, June 17, 2009, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewRjZoRtu0Y. Accessed 10 Nov. 2021.
M.I.A. in the song describes her ordeal with immigration officers while trying to enter the U.S. from Sri Lanka. She laments that she still gets into trouble with immigration agents despite having valid documents. She attributes her tribulations to her race. The song is suitable for the analysis because it shows the need to restructure immigration policies and regulations to facilitate unrestricted movement. Engaging with the song presents a better chance to understand deficiencies that obstruct easy movement across borders. M.I.A’s song is suitable for the study because it addresses the need for leaders to deal with issues that deter people from moving from place to the other because of their race. Furthermore, the song highlights the weaknesses that affect immigration practices and further highlight some of the important areas that require attention to address the challenge that could deter effective movement across international borders.
Richie Spice. “Di Plane Land.” YouTube, April 18, 2008, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvhmdfLqCXE. Accessed 10 Nov. 2021.
The song calls for changes in the handling of immigration practices, especially when handling people from less developed nations entering highly developed countries, particularly in the West. The artist sings about the humiliation he faces at an airport upon arriving from another country. The source is suitable for examining how songs advocate for change in immigration processes because it refers to many instances where the artist is treated inhumanely. Those in charge of immigration processes should take lessons from the song and enact changes that would facilitate entry and exit of people from one place to the other. The song is relevant for the study because it illustrates how people may have to struggle while moving across borders. It illustrates a scenario
where a person from a third world country tries to move into a first world nation, which serves as the source of the discrimination. Engaging with the song will further illustrate how artists have come out openly to express their concerns for the need for change rather than living in a society where people cannot exercise their right and freedom for movement.
Trost, Matthias and Eileen Wanke. “Immigration: Analysis, Trends and Outlook on the Global Research Activity.” Journal of Global Health, vol. 8, no. 1, 2018, pp. 1-11. doi:10.7189/jogh.08.010414
The source identifies the various issues affecting immigration across borders and suggests recommendations that may help to address the matter quite effectively. Referring to the source may help to come up with suitable remedies to the problem affecting how people move from one place to the other for different reasons. In addition, the source is helpful because it helps to understand some of the initiatives enacted so far to facilitate immigration practices, and to improve how people move across international borders. I consider the source as being relevant for the study because the authors give much information about the factors that could derail effective implementation of suggested remedies to immigration constraints. Moreover, the paper provides tips on how to handle future immigration challenges that could affect any attempts to increase how people move from one place to the other.
Zuberi, Nabeel. “Listening while Muslim.” Popular Music, vol. 36, no. 1, 2017, pp. 33-42. ProQuest, https://ezproxy.saddleback.edu/login?url=https://www.proquest.com/scholarly-journals/listening-while-muslim/docview/1848081337/se-2?accountid=39855,doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0261143016000659.
The source informs how Muslims experienced substantial constraints entering the U.S. after the 9/11 happening. Muslims from different Islamic states could not enter the U.S. with ease after it was alleged that the terrorist who attacked the country in 2001 were of Muslim origin. The source informs how music talk about the matter and how various song have attempted to lessen the gap that exists Muslim and Western races. The source will be valuable in knowing how Muslims encounter restrictions entering the U.S. Moreover, the source will give adequate information concerning whether things are becoming easier for Muslims trying to enter the U.