58 letters on the American Dream from San Marcos University students, San Diego, California, USA
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letter 43: Taylor

1. I come from several different ethnic backgrounds. The majority of my heritage is Italian as my father is full blooded Italian, making me half. My mom’s ethnic background consists of several different ethnicities. I’m not really aware of my ancestor’s immigration history or why they wanted to come to America. I do know that I am part Irish and some of my ancestors moved to the United States to escape the potato famine that was going on within that time period. I’m sure that they traveled into the United States by ship which was the most common way of immigration into the United States at that time. I do know that their last name was altered once they entered the United States because the people documenting who entered the United States and their names couldn’t understand the last name my ancestors were trying to say, so they wrote down what they thought they were hearing; Schtillman became Stillman. I don’t believe that my ancestors decided to automatically move to California, I believe that it was a decision brought about later throughout the years and just gradual moving throughout the family. My father’s side I’m definitely not aware of the ancestor background there. I assume that my grandparents had lived in Italy and decided to move to the United States. I do know that my father was born in New York so I believe the decision to move to California was a decision later brought on by himself or his parents when he was a child.

2. I have never been subjected to racial discrimination as a child or even as a young adult as some people have had to experience growing up. No one has ever made racial slurs aimed at me and if they had I was completely unaware of it. The only thing close to racial discrimination was just little childhood teasing about my dark Italian features that others don’t have. Although even that didn’t make me segregated from the other kids at school and I don’t view that as racial discrimination. I actually can’t think of one instance where any of my friends were racially discriminated against and I believe that we should find ourselves lucky that we were not subjected to that kind of torture because I am positive that others have had to experience that growing up. I think that may have had to do with where I grew up but I don’t think that Southern California can be labeled as a place where no one is racially discriminated against; I think that just had to do with my community. I have always loved living in Southern California and to this day can’t imagine myself living anywhere else. The sunny weather, the beaches, and everything California has to offer is the reason why I can’t imagine myself living anywhere else. Although, I could do without the traffic and the crazy road-rage driven people. The only thing I can possibly think of that may bother me about Southern California is the illegal immigrant population. That however has nothing to do with their race or nationality; it has to do with my political beliefs.

3. I think the picture did a great job in depicting why a lot of immigrants do come to the United States. People come here for several reasons that the picture has illustrated; religious freedom, political suppression, and just hopes and dreams of a better life. The art piece shows exactly what the United States is and is viewed to be, The Land of the Free. A lot of countries have a defined religion and it is a requirement to abide by that specific faith and everything that comes along with it. Although there are those people who live in those countries who do not believe in

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that specific faith, so they travel to the United States to gain the religious freedom that they have been longing for since the United States does not have and state religion and offers religious freedom to those who choose to practice or not practice what they want. One thing that the piece illustrates that the United States no longer does is have people immigrate by boat or ship. The United States used to have immigrants come in by ships years ago into one specific port that they had, although I don’t believe that this is how the Unite States runs immigration anymore. The picture illustrates hope and freedom for all immigrants which is why a lot of people migrate to the United States; a chance at a better way of life. The art piece depicts reasons why people travel into the United States in the past, why people are immigrating to the United States in the present, and reasons why people will continue moving to the United States in the future.