On July 4, 1776, a group of men signed a document that said we all have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” It’s a nice thought, but the men who wrote it were also slave owners. Still, over time this country has developed an abstract idea called the American Dream, and that idea varies from person to person. Generally, it has to do with having equal opportunities for a better life, but with current events in the U.S. being what they are, what does the American Dream mean to first-generation mothers?
I'm a first-generation mother, a U.S. citizen by birth, a daughter of immigrants, and a member of numerous marginalized classes. I grew up lower-middle class, and my father worked so hard for his family that I didn’t get to spend much time with him growing up. My mother was a stay-at-home mom, and extremely overprotective given she was a stranger in a strange land. My parents eventually became citizens, and by the time I got to high school they were finally able to afford their first home.
Now, and to me, the American Dreams seems more like a well-propagated campaign to convince the marginalized to pull themselves by the bootstraps rather than fight for their rights. I think the only American Dream I can believe in is the one held by activists and others trying to make this world a better place, not just for themselves but for everyone else, too.
I can only speak for myself, though, so I spoke with a number of other mothers about their thoughts on the American Dream. Here's what they had to say: