OPINION: American Immigrants for the win


Photo credit: Carolyn Warcup

Vanessa Rodriguez

The 2018 Winter Olympics is over and 92 countries were represented in Pyeongchang, South Korea. What does the United States have to offer? An amazing group of second-generation immigrant Olympians.

A fact that is so interesting, even the most Republican “wall-enthusiast” will scratch their noggin. That’s right, folks, immigrants are what make America, AMERICA.

We are the melting pot country, proudly consisting of numerous and unique cultures. So why are we still having the debate that immigrants are “ruining” our country?

Individuals bash those who are immigrants for the glory of their “true Americanism,” yet little do they know their great, great grandparents hailed from distant countries as, you guessed it, immigrants. Not only this, but these are also the same people who feel united when rooting for those Olympians in said competitions. What an upside down reality!

Apart from confusing oxymorons, the point of the matter still stands. Second-generation immigrants dominated the competition, proudly showing off their immigrant heritage and American identities.

The following Olympians all have parents who immigrated to the U.S.: half-pipe snowboard gold medalist Chloe Kim (South Korea), figure skater Mirai Negasu (Japan), short-track speed skater Maame Biney (Gana), figure skater Nathan Chen (China), short-track skater Thomas Hong (South Korea) and the figure skating team Alex and Maia Shibutani (Japan).

If this isn’t a huge slap in the face for what a sector of American society has been preaching since President Trump’s election in 2016, then I don’t know what is.

So what makes an American, then? Well for starters, the idea behind an American has its roots in resiliency and humbleness. The American spirit of “I can and I will,” is crucial to this make-up. It is embodied in the individual, not the ancestry.

Now, I am not glorifying all of American history or completely excusing initial American behavior towards immigrants and foreigners. However, if we do not fully understand and accept who we are as an immigrant culture, then this ignorance and false perspective of a true American “identity” will remain.

Remembering where you came from, honoring it and using it as motivation is what makes a true American.

Every individual smashed records, won medals and honored their diverse nationalities. The U.S. Olympic team is a force to be reckoned with.

These exceptionally talented individuals with top-notch abilities faced off with other professionals around the world. Yet, the U.S. team still dominated and the reason isn’t arrogance, ignorance or ethnocentrism.

Feast your eyes, Trump. Sorry to break it to you but this is 2018 and the future is happening now. As we embrace the ending of the 2018 Winter Olympics, we see that not only does our diversity unite us, it allows us to make history.

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