When I began writing this advanced essay I had one goal in mind, making others aware of the struggles of children from immigrants. What they went through everyday and how much it affected them. I was very proud that I could include my personal opinion in this essay while also being able to back it up with facts. It was an essay that was very personal and close to me. If I were to write this paper again I would definitely try and get more points across on this topic.
I couldn't believe it, everything felt like a nightmare, the difference was that I was awake. Donald Trump won. He’d had been elected into office by people who lived in a country that I called home. My heart sank to my stomach. I kept asking myself, why? Why did he win? How did he win? I felt dizzy.All these questions swarmed in my head like wasps. America, the land of the free, the land of the brave, the land of immigrants called me trash. This country is a golden prison, it’s masked with ideas like the American dream but in reality, it’s a prison that holds immigrants to the highest crime, of wanting a better life for themselves and loved ones..
Fast forward two years and he is talking about Mexico, my birthplace, and the type of people they are sending to the United States. In my head all I could think about was that I was Mexican, my parents were Mexican and we were not drug traffickers or rapist and above all, we were not criminals. My parents are hardworking immigrants who came to this country in hope of a better life, they came chasing the American dream. At the end of the day, isn’t this country built on the backs of immigrants and yet this country has done nothing but reprimand them and turn their backs on them.
For as long as I can remember I’ve had a history course at some point in school, always learning about the great thing’s immigrants like Christopher Columbus did for this country. As time passed, however, immigrants were deemed a menace, something to be scared off, years prior I had learned that immigrants were good, however the difference between them and me was that they were white and I was not. Stereotypes were forced upon me, society created an identity for me before I was even born, they decided who I was before I even got to figure it out myself. This has happened to almost every child born from an immigrant family, but I soon realized that I needed to prove them wrong. All the stereotypes forced me to do better, to prove stereotypes wrong, that I was not a statistic. I am someone who achieves and is independent and persistent. I decided to create my own identity. Identity shaped by oppression can both fuel you to be stronger as well as wear you down, however both parts of this identity are equally important.
When I was younger I attended Esol/Esl classes, classes that were meant to ensure that I could speak, write and read English. I was put into that class not because I couldn't speak, write or read English but because my first language was Spanish. Many students are placed in these classes as soon as they enter elementary school. The problem with this is that these classes are not designed specifically for these students needs or even adapted to the environment that they are used to. In an article written by the college of education and human development, they found that “In the past, education was sought to ensure that students of Mexican descent remained a subordinate group by providing them only limited access to inferior and non-academic instruction.” Instead of these classes adapting to kids who have been ripped from their roots and helping them adapt through a helpful well-crafted curriculum, the educational system has tried to reprimand them even more by giving them limited access to content that they have never seen, don't understand or simply doesn't help them. They want to them to remain a “subordinate group,” toying with their education is just one way that the system tries to degrade us.
Trying to keep up with the system and beat it eventually becomes exhausting for many. There are many kids who eventually give in and just fall and therefore strengthen the stereotypes already set in place. I grew in a household that taught me giving up isn't an option. Sso, when I started growing up and realizing that the system was set up for me to fail I decided that it wouldn't be that way with me. I would beat the system, I would always be number one #1 and prove everyone including myself that I could do it. Mexicans have been at the center of discrimination and xenophobia for the longest.
Recently in the era of social media, being able to spread hate as well as speak out on it has become easier. Recently, I saw a Ted Talk that was given by Fernanda Ponce, a Mexican-American student, she spoke out on what it meant to be Latino and Hispanic in America. During her Ted talk, she showed a video of a white lady who has been racist to Hispanic women. One of the many things that the white lady called the Hispanic women was a “nobody,” Fernanda responded to this video in her talk and said, “The woman in the video was called a “nobody” but as you can see latino and Hispanic are not terms synonyms with a nobody.” The phrase that really stuck with me was Latino and Hispanic are not terms synonyms with a nobody, Hispanic culture, specifically Mexican culture, has so much to offer. When we are called nobody’s all our culture is disregarded and thrown away. Due to people like that, it becomes harder for me to stand out so that I am not associated with the term “nobody.” Trying to prove this to the world comes with many sacrifices. Your mental health and emotional health is affected greatly.
When I started striving to better and prove myself worth everyday I fell into a spiral. It became a routine, wakeup, go to school, be #1, come home, sleep and repeat it over and over again. I lost my identity trying to prove one that had been created for me. It caused my mental health and emotional health to be affected. I developed anxiety nervosa, i would have panic attacks. My self-esteem was trash. It has taken a lot for me to get where I am now and I am still a work in progress. Children who have to go through the similar situations might not have the same resources and help that I had. This set identity created for us is harmful in many ways. While yes, it might push some of us to do better, like myself, it pushes us so hard that like a star we burn out. We need to be the change that we want to see.