Type: Review
Pages: 4 | Words: 927
Reading Time: 4 Minutes

“Welcome to Shelbyville” is a documentary, which main purpose was to give a glimpse of American society at crossroads. Shelbyville is a small town in the heart of America’s Bible belt. It is a community that has been experiencing rapid and remarkable demographic changes in terms of population composition, cultural background, and race, color, and place of origin. Tennessee is a few miles from Pulaski, a neighboring state of Shelbyville. The state has habited African and white American citizens, and since 2008, these people have been having problems and challenges due to the increasing population of Muslim Somali refugees and Latinos, who have been immigrating and settling into the town at a high rate (Abukar, 2011). 

The documentary, “Welcome to Shelbyville” aims at explaining and illustrating the life and challenges that these communities face in their efforts to accommodate the cultural diversities of Somali refugees and Latinos. Since 2001, refugees have been immigrating and setting up residence in Tennessee town near Shelbyville. Currently, the population of Somali and Latino immigrants has increased massively, a factor that has affected the peaceful coexistence of Black and white, American citizens. By 2008, there were a number of lobby groups and media houses that had come up with different opinions on the situation at Shelbyville. At this period, a certain film house designed and made a documentary about the town (Snyder, 2012).

Political Context of the Issue

According to a certain section of analysts and media houses in the USA, most of the contents of the documentary “Welcome to Shelbyville” did not depict the true picture of life and the events that happen at Shelbyville. Most of them argue that the organizers and media houses that had developed the film had certain objectives to achieve and that they wanted to fulfill the desires of the people and organizations that had funded the production of the documentary. According to an article from the Times-Gazette, the author believes that the government may have wanted to alter the contents of the documentary in order to achieve political desires. For instance, the government may have wished to shut down any claims that there was a widening animosity between the Somali immigrants and the American citizens that live in Shelbyville. The documentary had an incredible series of omissions and dishonest misinterpretations about the exact state between Immigrants in Tennessee and the Americans in Shelbyville (Snyder, 2012).

The Message in the Documentary

The documentary comes at a period after the 2008 general elections and depicts the interaction between the residents of Shelbyville as they try to embrace each other after a disastrous year. The economy is in a crisis, evident by the closure of factories and industries. The rate of unemployment is on the rise. In this instance, the local Tyson Chicken plant opts to hire many of the Somali refugees as employees. Controversy erupts when one of the local reporters comes up with a series of articles about the immigrant communities and their impact on local citizens. The documentary aims at depicting the struggles of integration between the different communities living in Shelbyville (Abukar, 2011).

The documentary has a bias to a certain extent. According to an analysis by one local reporter in the US, the article has a series of omissions and misrepresentations about life in the Shelbyville community. The documentary concentrated on the positive sides of the integration process between the immigrant communities in Shelbyville and the local American communities. The omission of certain facts and occurrences in the town during previous years is an indication of the bias in the documentary. The reporter believes that there is a probability that the producer received finding from certain individuals or organizations that had other motives towards the production of the documentary.

The information in the documentary was objective. The organizers and producers of the documentary had certain objectives that they wanted to achieve from airing the documentary. Over the past 6 years, Shelbyville community experienced a series of intercultural struggles between the local American citizens and the Latino and Somali immigrants. At this point, the country had just come from a presidential election, and since the president-elect was African, the documentary aimed at portraying an improving state of affairs between American citizens and African immigrants (Snyder, 2012).

The media have a remarkable impact on the perception of people on matters of public concern. For instance, in the case of the documentary on Shelbyville, there is the likelihood that the public believed the story. This means that the organizations that facilitated the production of the documentary achieved their objectives.

The documentary on Shelbyville community attempts to discourage discrimination on people from certain communities, in this case, the Muslim community. Before 2008 and the presidential elections, there was a notable level of discrimination against immigrants of Muslim background. The documentary, thus, aimed at discouraging discriminatory behavior on Somali immigrants (Times Gazette, 2011).

Discrimination on immigrants can reduce the effectiveness of labor force in the American economy. Immigrants who work in the US economy may not execute their roles in the workplace effectively when they receive discrimination from their American counterparts. Local American employers and citizens should offer equal employment and investment opportunities to all people who have settled on US soil (Times Gazette, 2011).

One way of enhancing inclusion among workers in an organization is through having a clear communication system. All employees must take information from certain people in the organization. The organization must also have regulations on the information that media houses give about the organization. Setting up a company press that edits and approves information about the company is one way to achieve this objective.

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