The American Dream, Turned Nightmare
Our country was built on the backs of hardworking people, many of them first or second generation immigrants. And many of them are members of various minorities that have been victims of prejudice since long before we were a British colony.
Blacks. Women. Native Americans. Catholics. Jews. The Irish. Italians. Gays. The disabled. All of these communities and more came to this country with the same dream, but had to fight for their rights to equality. Some of them are still embroiled in this fight, and yet even as equality trickles down to the masses, history repeats itself and each generation seems to find a new minority to trample.
The American experiment is unique simply because, at the end of the day, we are a nation of immigrants. Absolutely none of us, save a small few who are still being socially and systematically repressed, can claim ancestry in this nation dating back further than 1620. At one point or another, nearly all of us—based on one factor or another of our identity—were oppressed minorities. And we should never forget it.
Unfortunately, we do just that. While the same is probably true for every other country on Earth, we are a nation founded on inequalities, legislated by racists and classists, and populated by bigots.
Why do we love to hate? Is it inherent in human nature? Or does it stem from the fear that we, too, could be oppressed? If only we realized that equality could only bring us closer together as a more efficient, more powerful nation, then perhaps we could find some peace and happiness.
Today, one of the most victimized groups in American society is immigrants, specifically those from Central and South America, and especially those who come to our great country undocumented and by dubious means. According to estimates, some 10.9 million undocumented immigrants are living in the United States. While negative rhetoric may have you think they are all criminals or job thieves, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
These young women are here to show you how.
Mayte Lara Ibarra is your average American teenager. A recent graduate of David Crockett High School in Austin, Texas, where nearly half of all residents have Latino ancestry. In 2007, for the first time in nearly 200 years, more than half of all births in Texas were of Latitno children.
When it comes to Mayte, however, she’s anything but average. A hardworking student, she graduated top of her class as valedictorian with a 4.5 GPA and a full ride to the University of Texas. More impressive than most teenagers, Mayte had it made, so she shared her excitement on social media.
“Valedictorian, 4.5GPA, full tuition paid for at UT, 13 cords/ medals, nice legs, oh and I’m undocumented,” she wrote on her now-defunct Twitter on June 3rd. A bold move, especially in an era where xenophobia proliferates and is heralded as the de facto policy of presidential nominee Donald Trump, but nonetheless a simple display of pride in the face of adversity.
And yet, like anything sent out into the dangerous clutches of the Twitterverse, Mayte’s tweet would lead to serious public outcry.