LEE | A Non-American’s American Dream

Prior to coming to the United States for university, I regarded the American Dream as a far-fetched ideal that had little to do with my personal life. Taking part in Ellis Island role-play simulations in middle school and reading about Willy Loman’s despairs in Death of a Salesman made me aware of the disillusionment associated with the so-called land of opportunity. While I was able to appreciate the sentiments and discussions that revolved around this ideology that has shaped much of the U.S., I saw it as a distant concept as a non-immigrant foreign student expecting to leave the country after my student visa expires. But over the past two and a half years, I, too, have developed my own American Dream. Lively discussions across campus about social mobility and success have ignited a desire to work hard to improve my circumstances, who I am and who I strive to become.

GUEST ROOM | The Oscars and Racism Against Asians in the Media

I’ve been assimilating all my life, and so I’ll do what’s traditional and start off with a personal anecdote. A year ago, I was playing basketball with a friend of mine on the public court near an off-campus fraternity house. As four of its members were driving by, one of them yelled at me, “Jeremy Lin!” When that happened, I wasn’t offended that they forgot that Yao Ming had a way better record, or that I was actually Korean, and I wasn’t wondering why my friend, who was Polish, wasn’t called Marcin Gortat. To the contrary, I was much wiser than that. I’ve heard these “jokes” and others like them over and over again throughout my whole life.