Due to the hope that anyone can prosper in America and due to the fact that people from other countries don’t have the best success opportunities, immigration rates have been substantially increasing in the United States. The United States has always had this “dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” (“5 Ways Our Founding Fathers Protect The American Dream”); The American Dream. The American Dream was officially defined in 1931 by James Truslow Adams (“5 Ways Our Founding Fathers Protect The American Dream.” It’s nice to think that there is a place in which, through hard work, you can achieve your goals and dreams. Sadly, however, this has never really been true for minorities and this is especially not true for immigrants. It’s a cruel thing to still make people believe that the American Dream is alive for immigrants. Though, legally speaking, there have been steps towards equality, white supremacy and anti-immigration extremism has always thrived in The United States, which makes it very hard to defend the idea that anyone can accomplish their dreams in America regardless of their background. There’s much evidence to support this argument, including personal experiences. Anti-immigration extremists and nativists are ruining the idea of the American Dream through the discrimination, derogatory rhetoric, and policies that they target at immigrants.
Discrimination targets immigrants mainly through the media. The media can very easily shape non-Latinos’ minds about Latinos. Most of the news and articles about immigrants tend to portray them in a negative light, which leads to stereotypes and even more discrimination in other areas. Due to this, they are usually assumed to be “welfare recipients, less educated, refuse to speak English, have too many children, take jobs from Americans, and don’t take care of the home” (“Mo’ Latinos, Same Problems: Negative Portrayal of Latinos Continue in the Media, Despite More Latino Talent on the Screen.”) Immigrants are looked at as this stupid, lazy bunch of people who do nothing but live a lowlife. They are portrayed as not aspiring to much and, therefore, not caring about how they do in school, which leads to bad jobs which then leads us to poverty. They are portrayed as an extraterrestrial species that does not fit into American culture. White and non-Latino immigrants are brainwashed “to believe these farce stereotypes based on what they see on the screen” (“Mo’ Latinos, Same Problems: Negative Portrayal of Latinos Continue in the Media, Despite More Latino Talent on the Screen.”) Due to this negative portrayal, resentment towards Latinos among American people has increased. To add on to that, since this is the public’s main source of information on Latinos, their ignorance to the truths and the backstories to these stereotypes increase. Since they have limited sources of information and growing resentment due to it, they remain ignorant. The United States used to thrive on this idea that it was a “melting pot” that was as great as it was due to the many different ethnicities and cultures that made it up. Due to this resentment towards immigrants, specifically Latinos, this is no longer the case. Being a melting pot is no longer a good thing. White supremacists and anti-immigration extremists have driven American society farther and farther away from the whole “melting pot” idea. This takes America farther and farther away from it’s founding principles. White supremacists and anti-immigration extremists are ruining the American Dream.
Education environments are a huge issue for immigrants. Due to the poor media portrayal, large amounts of people who work in the education environment don’t actually expect success from Latino students. The only people who seem to have high expectations for Latino children are themselves and their parents. The parents are well aware of how much harder it is to get a living-wage-paying job now and they don’t want their children to struggle as they have. They believe “that a college degree is necessary for obtaining stable and meaningful work and this attitude is reflected in the educational expectations parents hold for their children and in the expectations that young people have for themselves” (Schhneider). This expectation, however, is very scarcely fulfilled. The vast majority of students in public schools are white, which makes way for discrimination against the minorities. The education environment contains lots of discrimination from classmates and/or teachers, which leads to an unsafe learning environment, which leads to not much motivation to try anymore due to the psychological damage that is caused. Also, due to the media portrayal, a lot of the Latino kids who grow up in harsh conditions, for their parents couldn’t afford better, and are exposed to an unsafe lifestyle. They end up realizing how hard life is when you’re a minority, which leads to drop outs and finding full-time jobs to help in the house. One out of the many cases that lead to the low education rates for Latinos. Due to these hard conditions, “despite high educational expectations, Hispanics are among the least educated group in the United States: 11 percent of those over age 25 have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher” (Schhneider).
Discrimination is widely seen in many areas, even public industries. Latinos can’t seem to escape their harsh reality in this country, the United States of America. No matter where they go in this country, they run the risk of experiencing discrimination. This is the case for most Latinos in America. Many instances have occurred in which a Latin person will speak a language other than English. This, in turn, leads to discrimination to burst out of racists’ mouths as if it were a fountain. An example could be a video shown of this white woman being racist towards a Latin woman who was speaking Spanish. The white lady got angry at the Latin woman simply because she was speaking a different language. Her comments included, “We speak English in America!” (Maldoman23). She even went as far as saying “Go back to Spain!” (Maldoman23). The Latin woman began speaking English, telling the white lady, “I speak English too. I speak English, not good, but I speak English!” (Maldoman23). As the words came out of her mouth, her eyes filled with tears. She defended herself and explained how hard she works just to make a living in this country. She felt the need to explain he work situation so that the white lady could understand that she wasn’t just here living off of the government. These sort of things are the ones that cause psychological damage to minorities, which leads to withdrawal from attempting their goals in fear of facing discrimination.
Just like Latinos face discrimination head-on, they also face it through politicians. It’s even more heartbreaking to experience this when it comes from other Latinos. Latino republicans, such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, have been accused of betraying their own culture due to their opinions on things such as immigration. Latinos began criticizing Cruz ever since he “pushed for new limits on immigration — including the repeal of the 14th Amendment guarantee that anyone born in the United States is granted citizenship” (“Liberal Hispanic activists assail Rubio, Cruz as ‘Traitors’ to their culture.”) This was enhanced after a meeting with Cruz from which the attendees came out feeling as if he even shared the same view as Mitt Romney that illegal immigrants should self-deport. Cruz supports kicking out undocumented immigrants, of which the majority are Latino. Marco Rubio has been greatly criticized also for immigration stance. He switched his opinion on immigration to a stricter one and is now seen as “a traitor” (“Liberal Hispanic activists assail Rubio, Cruz as ‘Traitors’ to their culture.”) Not only do they support anti-immigrant (and anti-Latino) policies, but also they don’t seem bothered by people such as Donald Trump, who’s made multiple racist comments against Latinos.
Donald Trump is also another huge example of racism and discrimination against Latinos. Mr. Trump kicked off his campaign by calling Mexicans criminals and rapists. He stated that Mexico willingly sends criminals and rapists into the United States. He stated, “When Mexico sends it people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” he said (Edelman). He went on to say, “The Mexican government is much smarter, much sharper, much more cunning. They send the bad ones over because they don’t want to pay for them. They don’t want to take care of them,” he said in August 2015 (Edelman). He even stated that Mexicans were killers. After his supporters attacked a Latino man, he defended them by simply saying that his supporters are passionate. He gave no importance to the injustice that was done. He even went as far as kicking Jorge Ramos, an Univision news reporter, out of a news conference and told him to leave Trump’s country. Due to his violent and racist rhetoric against Latinos, hate crimes have gone up.
President Trump’s immigration policies are anti-latino. Though he refrained from his promise that Mexico would pay for his wall, “the first order, entitled “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements,” is the first concrete step President Trump has taken to deliver on his campaign promise to build a “big, beautiful wall” along the southern border with Mexico (Phelps). He expects the wall to keep all of the bad, criminal, rapist Latinos out of his America. He’s also stated that he will deport anyone who stays in America longer than their visa allows. He will deport and ban illegal immigrants who commit any sort of crime. He will deport people living in America illegally who are waiting on legalizing their status. He says that they will wait in their home country until the papers have been done. With many more anti-immigration policies to come, Latinos don’t seem to stand a chance in the near future of living the American Dream.
With America’s current anti-immigrant and anti-Latino sentiment, the American Dream is virtually impossible for immigrants. Through discrimination, derogatory rhetoric, and anti-immigration policies, the fire is being fueled. It gets bigger and bigger as time passes and there doesn’t seem to be much progress from it.
“5 Ways Our Founding Fathers Protect The American Dream.” The Balance, www.thebalance.com/what-is-the-american-dream-quotes-and-history-3306009.
Edelman, Adam. “A look at Trump’s most outrageous comments about Mexicans.” NY Daily News, 31 Aug. 2016, www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/trump-outrageous-comments-mexicans-article-1.2773214.
“Liberal Hispanic activists assail Rubio, Cruz as ‘Traitors’ to their culture.” The Washington Post, WP Company, www.washingtonpost.com/politics/liberal-hispanic-activists-assail-rubio-cruz-as-traitors-to-their-culture/2015/12/15/9bcca938-a317-11e5-b53d-972e2751f433_story.html?utm_term=.ea1128a4b7f5.
Maldoman23. “YouTube.” YouTube, YouTube, 1 Aug. 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUj4MtEGwlk.
“Mo’ Latinos, Same Problems: Negative Portrayal of Latinos Continue in the Media, Despite More Latino Talent on the Screen.” Latin Post, 11 Nov. 2013, www.latinpost.com/articles/3686/20131111/latinos-media-portrayal-television-latno-talent-negative.htm.
Phelps, Jordyn, and Serena Marshall. “President Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration Explained.” ABC News, ABC News Network, abcnews.go.com/Politics/president-trumps-executive-orders-immigration-explained/story?id=45062485.
Schhneider, Barbara. “Barriers to Educational Opportunities for Hispanics in the United States.” Hispanics and the Future of America., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Jan. 1970, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK19909/.
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