Being American isn’t always the dream. My mother and I have been discriminated against for as long as I can remember. Not only because of us being woman, but also because we are people of color. Whether it was being talked to a certain way, looked at, or yelled at, it happens without failure wherever we go. Being American means you must face the reality of discrimination, and adapt to it. There have been instances that I have been followed around stores in suspicion. I have first-handedly witnessed friends being shouted at, hearing things such as ,”This is America, we speak English.” while talking to her mother on the phone, speaking Spanish. This same person has been questioned to the point of interrogation about the legitimacy of their green card, or if their family was “allowed to be there.”
My worst experiences yet have by far been in high school. During a test, I was the only person in the class to sit at my teachers desk (I was the only person of color in the class) and take the test with her literally sitting next to me. I didn’t think that much of it at the time, but I talked to some friends of mine from other classes, and it turns out that I wasn’t the only one. She had been splitting all of the colored kids in her class up, and seating them at complete opposite halves of the room, or having them sit right next to her; i’m assuming it was to ensure we didn’t cheat. Often times if I were to go out to dinner with my mom, for instance, they always assume we are sitting separately, as if we don’t know each other since my mother is a white woman and I am mixed race.
The American dream all started with Barack Obama Sr. when he was selected for a special program to attend college at the University of Hawaii, where he met Ann Dunham. Dunham's parents hoped for business opportunities in the new state. They married and had one son, Barack Obama II. His parents’ immigration to America and both of them attending the University of Hawaii opened up many doors in regards to Barack Obama II’s future. He was able to attend Columbia University and Harvard Law School, eventually becoming the president of the United States of America. He once wrote, “The opportunity that Hawaii offered – to experience a variety of cultures in a climate of mutual respect – became an integral part of my world view, and a basis for the values that I hold most dear.” This shows how his parents were provided with an opportunity to accept a further education and open doors for their son’s future. A study published in 2015 titled Annual Review of Clinical Psychology stated,” many interpreted the election of Barack Obama as an indicator of a new “post-racial” America. However, discrimination based on race or ethnicity continues to be a persistent experience for people of color in the United States on several occasions, including housing, community policing, and health care treatment.”
As a woman in the work force, my mother receives blunt, ignorant comments daily. Whether they’re telling her that women don’t deserve to be electricians, or trying to tell her boss that she’s not completing sufficient work, they’re blatantly insulting her. The wage gap is a big topic on sexism and is debated about often. “Women earned 79.6 cents for every dollar men made in 2015, according to data from the Census Bureau released last year.”, according to google. This shows how men and women can do the exact same work, but get paid differently.
In conclusion, I’ve learned that there are many obstacles for a wide variety of American citizens, but the ideas that people come to America with aren’t always reality.