Personal Projects: Point of Entry: Ursula Populoh

“Don’t laugh about accents because obviously, the person speaks another language, which many Americans don’t.People don’t realize that people don’t come to a country because they have nothing better to do. Most of the time, they leave behind a lot of things. They come because they think they can have maybe a better life in this country for them and for their children. That’s their main motivation, not making money, not taking advantage of social security, or freeloading, or whatever.And what I was recently thinking about is… You know, before I open my mouth, you don’t know that I’m an immigrant. You just know it when you hear my accent.I cannot imagine how women of color or how Muslim women feel wearing a hijab. If people look at you with hatred- I mean, this comes on top of everything. You feel already vulnerable because you are in a country that you don’t know. You don’t know what social behavior is expected from you. You don’t know the rules and regulations and people look at you [with disgust]… And I have a friend… who is opposed to immigrants. And I say, ‘Look. What am I?’ ‘You are different,’ [she says]. She doesn’t see me anymore as the person who came.” Ursula PopulohImmigrated to the United States from Nuremburg, Germany in 1985Migrated to Baltimore in 2008Photo by Sean ScheidtInterview by Ashley Minner, 4/6/17Baltimore, Maryland
Ursula Populoh

“Don’t laugh about accents because obviously, the person speaks another language, which many Americans don’t. 

People don’t realize that people don’t come to a country because they have nothing better to do. Most of the time, they leave behind a lot of things. They come because they think they can have maybe a better life in this country for them and for their children. That’s their main motivation, not making money, not taking advantage of social security, or freeloading, or whatever. 

And what I was recently thinking about is… You know, before I open my mouth, you don’t know that I’m an immigrant. You just know it when you hear my accent. 

I cannot imagine how women of color or how Muslim women feel wearing a hijab. If people look at you with hatred- I mean, this comes on top of everything. You feel already vulnerable because you are in a country that you don’t know. You don’t know what social behavior is expected from you. You don’t know the rules and regulations and people look at you [with disgust]…  

And I have a friend… who is opposed to immigrants. And I say, ‘Look. What am I?’ ‘You are different,’ [she says]. She doesn’t see me anymore as the person who came.”  

Ursula Populoh 

Immigrated to the United States from Nuremburg, Germany in 1985 

Migrated to Baltimore in 2008 

Photo by Sean Scheidt 

Interview by Ashley Minner, 4/6/17 

Baltimore, Maryland