It was a warm morning and I was saying my last goodbye to my newborn niece. I was moving from the Dominican Republic to the United States, and I was saying my last goodbye to many friends and family members — at least for the moment.
On my way to the airport, I remembered all of the things that my cousin who lived in the U.S. had told me. He said that I should be careful with “the goons,” and that I needed to trust nobody but myself. I had some friends who flew out to the U.S. that said that their families said similar things as my cousin, which I found kind of strange because their judgment did not sound realistic sometimes, but I decided to do research on those things. I found some information agreeing with my cousin’s thoughts on life in the U.S. I also found a lot of information disagreeing with my cousin’s thoughts on those things. At the moment that he told me, I didn’t understand what he meant by all of his warnings, but when I met up with him he explained what he meant in that conversation.
When I moved to the U.S., I was paranoid because of the many things I heard about — gang-related violence, shootings and many more things like racism and bullying. This paranoia is common among us immigrants because the news mainly shows things that are happening in other countries that are dangerous. It doesn’t really show the good side of that country. Also, when recent immigrants tell their friends and family about their negative experiences living in the U.S. it can make that person nervous when they finally land.
I see this issue as bad from each side — from the point of view of the person living in the U.S. and the immigrant that’s coming into the U.S. that they talk to. First, the person that already lives here can’t tell somebody else how their experience living here is going to be. Everyone’s experience is going to be different, and people have the right to experience things first-hand. Most things that are said in somebody else’s point of view can be different depending on how the person they’re talking to takes things.
But also, people coming into the U.S. should not be so radical about their decision-making and judgment towards other people. Some people persuade others to believe that certain types of people are dangerous and that we should stay away from them. Racism could be developed by someone’s opinion, and what that opinion puts into another person’s mind. I’ve watched people that had the same situation as me rush to get away from others just because they look some type of way and this is because of the opinion of somebody else. The only way to stop this is for people to manage the way they put their point of view into perspective with someone else.
Many people need to understand that until they experience something on their own, they can’t determine the good or the bad of it. Doing this could help people have an open mind about certain situations or places that could be “enjoyable” for them. Most people don’t understand that someone else’s experience is not going to determine the outcome they’ll have on their own. I enjoyed the company of some people that a lot of friends and family members told me to stay away from, and I’ve been lucky enough to never be involved in or put through any type of illegal situation. People need to first understand situations and support or stay away from them.