Consider how Clarkston residents feel about their quickly changing home. Compare these feelings to those of the refugees who are also working to adapt to an abruptly changed home.
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Many Clarkston residents see the ethnic make up of their town altered. Some, primarily white residents, are resistant to this change. Still many are more accommodating. Once in the U.S., resettled refugees are given just three months of assistance from the government before they’re on their own, left to do the best they can to build new lives in a strange land.
This kind of transition would be difficult for anyone, but children and teenagers face special challenges. They are caught between worlds – no longer of the countries in which they were born, yet still separate and outside from the culture of their new home. They are outsiders at school, and at the same time, come under pressure from parents who see efforts to act or dress “American” as a repudiation of their native culture. Outside of school and their homes, the boys must also contend with pressure from the local street gangs who don’t hesitate to take advantage of the newcomers’ desire to belong.