"The Shame": Family Difficulties and Integration of the Immigrant


Although many Spanish families that adopt children of other ethnic groups manage to positively incorporate them into their environment, it is no less true that doubts, regarding the acceptance of the adoptee and their insertion into society, play a fundamental role when deciding take this step or back out once the child has entered the new home. In this sense, the urgency of giving back what has not been understood has a multiple and forceful expression in the film "La verga" by David Planell, based on the story of Manu, an 8-year-old Peruvian boy who has already been returned in the past to the Madrid reception center by prospective parents who did not know how to approach him. Communication problems, integration, self-esteem and adjustment of the little one join the personal ones of Lucía and Pepe, the prospective parents, showing the family difficulties, in this double negotiation of the affections between the inner self and the other, to show a hidden racism under the political correctness of a young and progressive couple.
The material and immaterial borders between Manu and his possible parents have a greater complexity, product of the preconceptions towards what is not familiar and therefore subject to suspicion. "Lucía, the Peruvian steals from us," says Pepe, when he can't find a watch, immediately blaming Rosa, the employee in charge of taking care of Manu. “What good is it that she is Peruvian. She doesn't even sing her songs from her country, ”continues Pepe, reducing Rosa's behavior parameters towards Manu to the cultural stereotype, and thereby justifying her supposed failure to counteract the child's rebellion and hostility.
Pepe's inexperience in dealing with Manu's intrinsic problems is due to a lack of knowledge of the psychological consequences that being a victim of rejection has on the boy, both from the biological mother and from the adoptive parents, in addition to the difficulties to be accepted socially. “They hit him with gum on his head,” Lucía informs her husband when the boy becomes a victim of bullying. This, as a precursor to the problems of marginalization of the group if upon reaching 18 years of age, as happens to many young immigrants without papers who have not yet been able to leave shelters and protection centers, he also finds himself suddenly alone and in the street. Well, exclusion and racism are certainly the causes of many of these adolescents, abandoned by their immigrant parents at birth or arriving in the country when they were minors, entering the network of gangs, in this case Latinas —“with that look from Latin King that he has put on”, Pepe censures Manu for not having cut his hair as he would like -, establishing himself in Spain since the migratory surge of the new millennium.


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