As a young twenty-something I feel like I’m still learning what it means to be an adult, let alone an American. I grew up in a loving conservative home in the midwest. Suffice it to say that I didn’t really come into regular contact with immigrants until I started working for the local Chipotle last year.
I was raised to see everyone equally. Everyone gets the same chances. It doesn’t matter who your parents are, what you look like, how you talk, or where you come from. What matters is what you do and how you treat others. When you combine this idealism with the melting-pot that is our world its no wonder I had no clue I was working with “non-Americans” until I was in the office counting down my drawer while our manager was working with a new employee on their paperwork. She processed a green card instead of a social security card.
Then I started to wonder, and I took notice. I’ve become appalled with the growing sense of entitlement I see in my fellow Americans. It is disgraceful to me that people who aren’t “from here” are better Americans than we are. Hard working, understanding, long tempered, gracious, kind, courteous, polite, the list goes on and on. We’ve traded the American dream of hard work and ingenuity in for one of entitlement and laziness.
I’m proud to say that some of the people who have shown me best how to be an American are immigrants. As I face the seemingly impossible task of being an actor, writer, YouTuber, musician and general artist in a country more worried about Monday night football and the bottom line than the quality and beauty art adds to life I’m glad to have such examples of perseverance to work alongside every day.