A long time ago I came to realization that everything in life comes at a cost. I do not know if this is true for everyone as Paris Hilton seems to have the perfect life. Well, I guess thinking about it she is under the public eye all the time, but she seems to kind of enjoy this no? Anyway, I am getting off track. Everything in my life has come at a cost. It is a little like a zero-sum game for me. Like if I have one thing I cannot have the other.
I think it started with me thinking of high school. I had to have perfect grades. At what cost? Well, at the cost of my social life. I did nothing but study for the longest time. I did not go out with my friends. In fact, the only time I hung out with friends was when we were in the tutoring room doing homework. I did not have a job. I did not have a car. I did not go to dances. A lot of you can probably figure out why most of these things were not so easy for me to do. Yes, it is because of my status. Sometimes I stop to wonder…if I had been born in the US would I be here at this point…almost always I think no.
Then I think that because of the way that we get tracked throughout school, I enjoyed certain privileges. I was able to go into honors and AP classes which in turn boosted my GPA to the point that I was able to go to a great liberal arts college with a lot of my tuition paid off. At what cost? Well, my brother not being quite as studious as me was not tracked into AP classes, in fact, he was tracked into the mechanics and agriculture programs and into the lower math classes. My brother is a lot brighter then me, but yet I am the one with a BA. Maybe it is because of the fact that he is was always ansy as a male. That he resisted being told that Mexicans were inferior through rebellion while I on the other hand resisted through becoming more determined and studious…but again I digress ( I will however write about this later).
It is because I think about my life that I think that we are never going to be able to obtain paper work in the United States if we do not pay a price. And I think this week I found out something that may just be payment enough.
My dad has started to talk about the American Dream. He keeps coming home from work exhausted after working a lot of hours….he just says this is your American Dream. this is what the dream is. And I think about it and it is true. For immigrants that is the American Dream…to toil in the fields for little pay with possibly little time to rest or even go to the bathroom just so their children have a chance to maybe go to school. The children however are often stuck in classes in which teachers call them stupid and where their learning style is not honored…yes, even the American Dream comes at a cost. And I guess my dad through his experience in the United States learned something that I was told in my Chicano Studies classes.
yes, the American Dream always comes at a cost. Because even as a man wrote that “all men are created equal” there were people out there that had to pay for this equality. All men were able to be equal and free and able to persue of happiness at the expense of all the women and slaves that stood behind them. The American Dream is a pricey one ….it is one that the population of young black males in prison is paying so that middle class white kids can have the space and classes to go to college. It is the price that Mexicans toiling in the fields all day have to pay so that America can have food at sustainable prices. It is paid for by the dreams and hopes of young immigrant couples having to give up their country, language, culture, lives so that their children can maybe one day grow up and say that they have been accepted to a prestigious law school.
I am not saying this as a suggestion that I am going to give everything I have up because someone else had to pay for it….it is a realization that if someone else paid for me to have this then i sure as heck have to enjoy it and take care of it…even though it scares me to death to think that maybe one day I will be out of law school with an insurmountable amount of debt and no job.
I have to do it…because even 200,000 dollars does not compare to the price someone already paid for me to get here.