Yesterday in my “Immigration and the 2016 Election” class, the professor asked “Why do [non-US born] mothers want to give birth in the US?”
A girl raised her hand and nonchalantly answered, “because they’re essentially like a meal ticket for them.”
I felt my ears burning, but I didn’t turn around to face her nor did I speak up. I sat there silently fuming. No one responded and the discussion continued. Her comment was forgotten.
But I remember it and cannot forget it.
She compared my existence to a meal ticket. She dehumanized my mother into a gold-digger as if the US were her wealthy husband.
If only she knew that my mother never struck gold. Rather, she spent over thirty years digging and digging until she found herself in her own shallow grave. Unemployed, bankrupt, debt-ridden, and just a high school graduate, my mother was powerless.
The births of my sister and me did not grant her food in her mouth, clothes on her back, or a roof over her house. The births of my sister and me granted her an unbreakable vow to always place the needs of her children over herself. Our existence did not improve her life.
Our existence caused her to dig even harder. She worked tirelessly and missed out on our childhoods because she foolishly believed that the American dream could be found if she just worked hard enough.
She dug and dug with the earnest hope that a glimmer of gold would appear, but it never did.
So in the end, she laid down the shovel and kneeled on the floor. She folded herself like an acrobat until she became a foot stool. Her back became the first step out of the grave. She was no ladder, but she had faith that even a tiny boost could propel us to the top.
My mother did not conceive us with the hope of exploiting us. We are not her meal tickets. We are her precious gold and you can’t take that away from us.