Streams

Being Honest about the American Dream

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Radio Rookie Danielle in the studio

Yesterday, one of WNYC's Radio Rookies told her story about not being able to be honest with her family in Congo about how hard life is in the United States. Danielle joins to tell her story, and Kim Nichols of the African Services Committee joins to talk about why it's so difficult to tell the truth about challenges.

The phone lines are open for stories from immigrants about what you tell your family and friends in your home country about life here. Did your expectations meet reality? What do you think they expect to hear about life here? Call in to 212-433-WNYC/9692 or leave your comment below. 

Guests:

Kim Nichols
News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
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Comments [12]

elka from NY

All of you who have struggeled to get someplace, financially and with educating yourself are the backbone of this country. You and people who came before you are what built this nation into a super nation. Not the whimpy wet noodles who lay around crying for help. You suffer from being exhausted and working too much and trying to do too much. But. You end up strong and resilient and you are the model for true human self respect. Thank you to all the immigrants who come here and bust their @$$e$. Thank you to my parents who left a crappy communist country too. God Bless.

Dec. 13 2012 11:50 AM
Kasia from Brooklyn

I live in Crown Heights in Brooklyn and yesterday while walking my dog I started talking to this woman who works at a 99 cent store and recently sent her son back to Africa to live with his father (her ex husband). Here in Brooklyn he was suspended from school and was getting in trouble, hanging out with the wrong crowd.. She said she asked him: "What do you want to do with your life, be a drug dealer or a pimp?" She wasn't able to deal with her teenage boy all alone and decided to send him back to Sudan. She said that all of her ex husbands family went to college and she was hoping he would get education there and stay out of trouble.
So sometimes it works the other way around.

Dec. 13 2012 11:50 AM
Ali from Bronx

Bryant you are consider to be bless by people back home by coming to America.....
But Daniel won't have be in the street back home in congo because she can't pay bill but they would have move with other family member

Dec. 13 2012 11:41 AM
The Truth from Becky

Danielle, you are already more successful than most, you are on the radio discussing your situation...

Dec. 13 2012 11:41 AM
Nick from UWS

Danielle is delightful.

Dec. 13 2012 11:40 AM
Ismael Padua from Astoria NY

Brian,

I moved to NYC in 2000 from Puerto Rico hoping for better life and better opportunities just like every other immigrant, and the reality was so much more different than expected, in particular when in my mind, being from PR we are born American citizens, but it was very tough, especially when I could barely speak the language. I lived in the projects for about 1 year before I could get my own apt, but I was determined to work hard and face all the discrimination and hardships and not give up. I put my self through a community college for an associate degree, then a four year college at CUNY and now I am getting a graduate degree at Columbia Univ. It has been extremely difficult all these years, working and going to school but I have had opportunities that I never even imagined and I would do it all over again if I had to.

Dec. 13 2012 11:40 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Exactly Fuva - this narrative is not restricted to immigrants. It's about migration, false pride, dashed hopes, unrealistic expectations. North/South, City vs Country.

Dec. 13 2012 11:39 AM
mick from Manhattan

I'm an immigrant from Indiana--another country, indeed. I also have felt the need to lie and tell the relatives back home that I am doing better than I am. It is one of the unspoken parts of the American Dream story. Most people are not Horatio Alger and most people people just barely get by for most of their lives. But the stories we hear are those of the few who do make it. These are part of the official mythology that justifies the social and economic status quo.

Dec. 13 2012 11:38 AM
Nick from UWS

One of the problems with immigrants as far as integrating into American society is always referring to their country of origin as "home" or "my country". If they have come here to live, then America is now their home, and America is now their country. To speak otherwise puts a very insincere and opportunistic slant on their immigration, and rubs many many people the wrong way.

Dec. 13 2012 11:38 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

What's new here? Every immigrant wave learned that the streets were not really paved with gold ready to be picked up. Every immigrant wave has had to struggle for a few decades until the children or grandchildren moved into better digs and the "middle class."

Dec. 13 2012 11:34 AM
fuva from harlemworld

During the Great Migrations, blacks from the south did the same thing.

Dec. 13 2012 11:32 AM
darey from NYC

Yes, and as a follow up "Being Really honest about the New York City Dream."
If you dare.

Dec. 13 2012 10:18 AM

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