Regardless of what the intentions of the council members were, the banning of the word ghetto will not be a part of the solution to solving the housing problems that exist in New York. It also will won’t paint over the troubled past. My definition and interpretation of the word ghetto still remains a place of run down buildings and the typical slums that most people would imagine and simply removing it from people’s vocabulary will not do anything to change that.
Spare Parts, the movie is based on a true story about a group of Latino high school students working together to build a robot to compete in a robotics at University of California. Their struggles were exasperated by the fact that that all four boys were undocumented immigrants, had little support from their high school, and had to compete against much larger colleges (MIT, Cornell, and Virginia Tech). For instance, they only had a budget of $1000 for materials to build their robot in comparison to MIT which had received a grant of $10000. At the competition, the robot they had built clearly and expectedly could not stand to compete with the likes of other schools but even still they were able to put up a respectable showing and were able to win first place in the explorer (beginner) round. The movie’s main point is that even at a disadvantage, determination can accomplish great feats.
The article, The Meaning of Mobility, discusses what technology has done in shortening the great physical distances between people. Although people can live so far apart from each other or move around so much, the advent of cell phones and location services have made people closer together than ever. I experienced this last year when I discovered Google Maps’s timeline feature which tracks every place that I have been to through the use of location on my phone. It shows the time in the morning every day when I would go to school, the time I left school, and the time and place I’ve spent with my friends. And during the summer when I went to Florida on vacation, it also was able to maintain its all seeing knowledge about my location. The thought of going someplace far away doesn’t worry me about losing the connections and friendships that I currently have.
Stupid Rich Bastards is a narrative of imposter syndrome with the main issue being that the author is very much unlike the “rich” students that attend college. Since previously living a live dictated by poverty, the entrance into a new world where opportunity is abundant and not scarce is such a stark contrast to the life where the making or life or death decisions is the norm, that Laurel Black struggles to cast aside her old self and transition into a new being as a daughter that her parents are infinitely proud of for even making it into college.
The immigration process, an elaborate game of chance and a beautiful display of finesse. Through the tireless work of translators such as Luiselli communicating the adventures of the children crossing over the border and the thankless work of the lawyers that commit themselves to representing the children in court, they ensure that the limited number of children they’re able to represent are guaranteed the full benefits of the immigration process. With every child, Luiselli and lawyers craft the grisly tales of children like Manu running from MS-13, struggling with all his might to stay alive. Luiselli will regularly hear the tale begin as one of fear or a tale of survival that ends with no conclusion. Once the questionnaire reaches its end, the children are either sent into the claws of the courts or deported back. That is where their tale with Luiselli will end. It is a story that either has no ending or one that ends in darkness. And even with her work with immigrant children, listening to hundreds of stories still can’t answer the most stand out question, “Why did you come to the United States?” What appeal is there to the United States beyond just being a place to escape from violence? What reason does Luiselli have herself to fight so hard for her green card?
Driven by fear. Driven by impulse. An animal will run. Running with madness and running with fear. Running away from the life they were assigned in this game of survival, the thousands of immigrant children are living on fear and shadows. They live on the fear of violence from their birth home, the fear of death from gangs, and the fear of being deported back to living with the root of their fears. They live in the world of shadows where everywhere they turn, they’re fighting a constant battle just to stay alive against the invisible assailants from the United States. They live in the world of darkness where the only light they see is the dim, flickering of immigrant support groups and everything else lacks the guiding light of friends and family to shine on the path. The questionnaire asks if the children are “happy” and “safe”, yet the system works gleefully hard to make said feelings of happiness and safety the most difficult to attain. From the shortening of the window to find a lawyer from 12 months to 21 days and granting border patrol the power to deport Mexican immigrants on any grounds, it becomes comical to compare the intent of the questionnaire to the judicial beast the children are fed to.
Tell Me How It Ends, a tale of the United States immigration system, chronicles the journey of the many immigrants risking their lives and dream to cross over the United States border. In a forty question questionnaire, human emotions are released bare, lives are created, and dreams are destroyed. Luiselli begins with the most basic question on the questionnaire, “Why did you come to the United States?”A deceptively simple question that intensely drags out the most complex and intricate of answers. This first question of many is posed to lost children. Children in a foreign world. Children that have lost any semblance of safety, of comfort. “Alien” children in an alien world to them. Children living in environments so appalling, they’re willing to destroy their entire lives just for the chance to make a new one. A multitude of reasons exist, all to be teased out by the first question. Following that, the questionnaire delves into the children’s journey as they trek to the United States. “What countries did you pass through?” “How did you travel here?” “Where are your parents?” All of which, meant to provide an individual profile of each child, yet fails to provide an individual human touch in each of these cases. Luiselli, at the end of this first chapter, foreshadows her own journey in providing that human touch and beginning her path to providing a voice for each child.