New Americans Cultural Riches Take The Quiz
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4/20/04
Estela
Los Angeles CA
I absolutely do not understand and was shocked by the anger and name calling toward Senora Flores. Perhaps this can be used as another instance when people can stretch their minds a bit. WE ALL HAVE DIFFERENT LIFE EXPERIENCES AND VALUES WHICH INFLUENCE THE LIFE CHOICES THAT WE MAKE. What some viewers, from their own experiences and values, saw as a "selfish" choice on the part of Senora Flores, I saw as perfectly understandable given her previous life experiences. In fact, Senora Flores should be commended for for strength and leadership in raising her family--practically singlehandedly--all of those years!! I believe that Senora Flores was doing what she thought was in her and her family's best interest.

4/20/04
Erick Rivera
San Francisco, CA
As the child of immigrant parents I was able to empathize with the people interviewed "The New Americans" documentary. For example, the woman from Palestine, Naima, who faced the challenge of losing touch with her culture and kin back at Palestine reminds me of my mother because she was opposed to assimilation. In my own experience as a first generation American, assimilation was something my immigrant mother frowned upon and prevented me from seeking. She always reminded me that although I was American by birth I was Guatemalan by blood. She always told me to speak in my ancestral language, Spanish, and abide by the Guatemalan code of ethics and manners. Due to this connaisance I was able to empathize with Naima.

Today I am able to understand why my mother instilled the Guatemalan culture and lifestyle in every aspect of my life. Just like Naima tried to enforce her values and traditions with her "Americanized" husband my mother tried to prevent me from losing those values she upheld. Now that I am 19, I am thankful that she did not let me fully assimilate. I have been able to understand immigrants better due to my parents, who both left Guatemala during the civil war in 1985. Another major reason why I was able to empathize with the immigrants in the "The New Americans" was because I saw both of my parents face similar challenges in readjusting to their new American home. Although my parents have only worked within the Hispanic community in California, the need for them to speak English usually arises. As the fluent English-speaking son in my family I have always been a translator for my parents but when they when I am not with them they must use their broken English to communicate with Americans.

Despite all the commonalities that my parents share with other immigrants I am not able to say my life or theirs was challenging. On the contrary, my parents quickly became entrepreneurs and established their first company in California within two years of their arrival. Today my dad, age 40, is planning to retire within the next five years and my mother, age 37, is a successful accountant and financial analyst. Due to my parents economic stability my experience as a first generation American is quite unique and I cannot completely relate to the experiences most immigrants and their children face. However, through my interactions with the Latino community, which has a large immigrant population, I was able to see the fruitful contributions that immigrants bring to the United States. In Los Angeles, where I grew, up immigrants have contributed millions of dollars to the community by establishing new businesses, creating jobs, increasing consumerism, and boosting the workforce.

Immigration in my own experience has been a positive force that only enriches American culture and fortifies the economy. As a first generation American I value immigrants and what they bring to the table.

4/20/04
Reena Shah
San Francisco via Peoria, IL
I really appreciated this film. As the daughter of an immigrant father, I can understand many of the hardships endured by these featured individuals. Coming to this country is a very brave and bold move with many inherent challenges such as language barriers, customs, traditions, institutions, policies, etc. Through the experiences of "The New Americans" and my own family members, I have witnessed that transitioning to life in the U.S. is challenging, overwhelming, and intimidating; therefore, I have much respect for this film's subjects who not only made that brave transition, but who also allowed their experiences to be captured on film. I feel that it is important for more Americans, whether from immigrant families or not, to understand what trials people are willing to endure and how much they are willing to give up in order to live in our country and to call themselves Americans. I feel that this film has poignantly reiterated certain privileges we natives tend to forget we have. Thank you.

4/20/04
Ali
San Francisco, CA
I only got a chance to see part of the movie, but even watching the portion that I did made me truly think about this topic. Many people in the world know that immigration is hard, but rarely take action to make it easier for those who have to immigrate. Living in San Francisco, I have encountered many immigrants, all of which have their own day to day challenges. Immigrants work that much harder to make ends meet, and their work ethic shows that.

I myself immigrated from the Islamic Republic of Iran when I was only one. My mother brought my sister and I over in hopes of making a better life for us. The educational services my sister and I receive every day show my mother that the move she made was well worth it. Honestly, I think that's what's truly important. As immigrants, it's important to see what you've done has paid off.

I have encountered several "culture shocks" while living in the United States. There was a difference, however, of the level of shock before September 11, and after September 11. When 2001 had come around, I had fully assimilated into any normal American student. But it seemed like the second that plane hit the first building, I was now a "Muslim-America." Racial slurs where big in my high school, and now in a time of grief, they were at their peek.

I think what we as Americans need to remember that immigrants are just as American as any body else. When we can take the segregation out, acceptance and true integration can begin.

4/20/04
Daniela N. Lopez-Garcia
San Francisco, CA
Although I did not fully view the documentary, "The New Americans", I have already gleaned greater insight into not only the personal stories of immigrants entering the United States, but of all people native born or immigrants who strive to live a better life.

As a young Latina woman, I personally cannot fathom how difficult it is for one to enter the United States as an immigrant. However, I too share with these people the same desire to search for my own "American Dream", and living with success, however one may define it. Additionally, this has become most evident to me during my current first year as a freshman at the University of San Francisco. I have had the opportunity to interact with numerous international students. These young men and women are heroic in a sense to me because they were able to leave their home countries, at times the only place they had ever known, in order to come to the United States and study for school. My best friend of five years has a similar story because he left his town in Mexico to study in the U.S since he was thirteen, and now he is currently nineteen years of age. He has not returned, even to visit his mother and father. He has told me that despite the constant yearning to be with his parents, he must educate himself in order to fully achieve success, and stability. The young students that come to the U.S in order to receive an education, and achieve completely their American Dream inspire me, as well. After all, this is why I am at a university with them. We all desire our American Dream to become our American Reality.

In regards to the Flores family, whose story was revealed in the film, it was clear how the importance of education was stressed by Pedro, the father, completely. For example, at one point Pedro stated "It's beautiful to discover that through a piece of paper a person can speak. That's why I want them to go to school." His statement illustrates how education can be the key to opening the door to the American Dream. As a member of the first generation of my family to attend college, I too can relate to this mentality. My education can free me, and be my way to living the American Dream. Pedro may be an immigrant, I may be a third generation American, but we share the same value of education, and the same desire of attaining our own American Dream.

In conclusion, I would like to extend my gratitude to all various producers who dedicated their own time to create such a poignant documentary. Certainly, others also are affected by the film and further educated on issues immigrants face. My eyes were opened; my heart was touched.

4/20/04
Zach
San Francisco, CA
I was not fortunate enough to see the whole series. However,from what I've seen the documentary of these peoples lives immediately grabbed my attention. I being and living in America my whole life found that this gave me a better understanding of what immigrants have to face when they come to America. I hope that you can show the documentary again so that I can see the whole thing. I also want to commend the people who helped create this documentary, its one of the best that I have seen.

4/20/04
Dennis Aguiling
San Francisco
Being the product of two immigrants, the story of assimilating and adjusting to a new culture is one that is very near and dear to me. I very much appreciate the efforts of all the people involved in making the documentary, though my class time only afforded me enough time to see a single hour of the documentary. I also want to send a special thanks to all the people who have taken time out of their lives to watch this video. If everyone took a moment to understand each other's situations, I believe the world would be a much more harmonious place!

I would also like to add that to seek a deeper understanding of a topic so scrutinized and disected as immigration is to seek a deeper understanding and definition of self, which also requires a review of one's principals and morals. I believe that though I am not always in the classroom, it is my responsiblity to never stop learning about others and the world around me. I just hope I am not the only one.

4/20/04
Fabiola Hernandez
San Francisco, CA
"The New Americans" documentary provided me with more information about the life of those immigrating to the United States. I can sympathize with what the people being documented were going through. It's kind of disappointing that in class we were unable to watch all of the stories. Like them I am part of that circle. My family and I immigrated to the United States in the late 80's. We had to adapt to the language, along with their customs. As for me it wasn't to difficult because I was but a child and the transition wasn't to complex. Like in the documentary we have family back in Mexico and in all my years here I have only gone back once to visit. Even if other people do not agree with me I consider myself an American. I feel extremely lucky to be with my family. In regards to the film, I thought it was a wonderful idea. That way people can see what the life of an immigrant truly is like. I give praise to the directors.

4/20/04
Amber Nicole
San Francisco, CA
My Great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, grandmother Sarah Menefee was chained, and forced to work as a slave in the US. Years later she was able to buy her own freedom, and settle in what is now known as California. Although grandmother Menefee did not voluntarily come to the US, she experienced some of the same challenges that many of the immigrants faced in "the new Americans."

Like Jose and Ricardo grandmother Menefee settled in a place where she was one of the only people of color. Jose, Ricardo and grandmother Menefee were alike in that they each had to make a name for themselves in their new homes. Although certain aspects of grandmother Menefee's story relates to that of Jose and Ricardo's, there are also aspects that are very different.

Because grandmother Menefee lived in a civilization where both women and people of African decent were seen as inferior, many of her accomplishments were discredited. And unlike Jose and Ricardo, grandmother Menefee wasn't initially accepted into a small closed community.

As I began to watch the story of Jose and Ricardo I was pleased to see how hospitable the family they lived with was. Unlike grandmother Menefee, the family that Jose and Ricardo lived with was ready, and able to embrace the boys' Dominican culture. As the story progressed however, I came to realize that although the boys' sergeant family was very supportive, the surrounding community wasn't as optimistic. As soon as one of the boys' Dominican teammates was accused of assaulting an American woman, the city began to panic. It was interesting, yet disgusting at the same time to see how quickly "friendly" neighbors turned into victims. Just as grandmother Menefee was unable to fully interact with people in her neighborhood, Jose and Ricardo were now feared because they were different.

Moreover I began to contemplate the idea of American Culture. With the help of grandmother Menefee, and others of the like America is now a land made up of a plentitude of different cultures. Today American Culture is defined by various aspects of diversity. Foremost among them appears to be the preservation and importance of embracing all the different cultures that now exist in the US. Yet through Jose and Ricardo's story it is obvious that this idea is often talked about, but not practiced. I believe that this video not only does a wonderful job recording the lives of immigrants, it also forces people to see them as human beings. Although there is still much work needed to create a more fair and just world, we must not forget how much people like grandmother Menefee have fought to ensure the ideas listed above. Even though this video will not change everyone, hopefully it makes people more aware of the injustices that still exist in today society.

4/16/04
H Smith
Chicago
I want to offer my gratitude for your inclusion of Hatem and Naima's story. While the journey of a Palestian family in the US may have been more risky, I admire the courage and willingness of this couple and the extended family to make themselves vulnerable to a US audience. I was moved my Hatem's compassion for Arab Americans and his dedication to seeing the Arab-American community built up while fighting for equality in the Middle East. And I was challenged by Naima's perseverance in learning english, seeking employment and negotiating the stresses related to Hatem's work. There was something special to be understood about watching a young couple 1 American, 1 Palestinian, from Palestine deal with the cultural transtions as a married couple. To give viewers this window into their lives...invaluable. Their story will affect the way I view every Palestinian from this point forward in my life.

4/16/04
Heather
Chicago, IL
I wish to add my thanks to the list of appreciative viewers of this series and also make the reqest for re-broadcast. The series provided a truthful telling of the stories of these New Americans that serves as a challenge to slightly older Americans. I think Americans with a longer history in the US need to acknowledge our common immigrant heritage, with the exception of the original Americans-The Native Americans and-and take a careful look at how we view immigrants. I am thankful for the immigrant and refugee information provided on pbs.org which serves to educate and consequently dismantle some of the sterotypes and misconceptions about immigrants. I believe the diversity of immigrant experiences in the film also combats some of these stereotypes. Thank you to the producers and makers of this series who taught us a little more about ourselves through the eyes of others and hopefully cultivated compassion in the process.

4/16/04
Elizabeth Ambriz
San Francisco CA
I want to start by thanking everyone who participated in this documentary. You have allowed everyone to feel what is to leave one's country in search of "the American dream".

I was very impressed how well the struggles of immigrants from all over the world were depicted.

I am the first generation born in the U.S. from Mexican parents. Eventhough I did not experience my parents hardships to adapt to a new culture and country, I have seen how they view this country as their own. At the same time, though, they try to maintain their own cultural values.

I loved it! Very inspiring and informitive. It makes those of us who do not experience this struggle, really value what we have in this country as well as cherish every moment we have with our loved ones.

To all I say, that we should take inconsideration everything we learned from this documentary and apply it to our life. If we bump into someone who needs help offer them a hand instead of getting upset.

Mama y Papa, Gracias por su valentia y esfuersos. Los quiero mucho!

4/16/04
Crystal Lewis
San Francisco, CA
Personally, I did not see the entire video, as not all of it was shown to me, but what I did see amazed me. You always hear about the problems with immigration, acculturation, and the new lifestyle that is taken on when a person or a family enter into a new culture in a new area, but you can never get the full picture until it is right in front of your eyes. In fact, you cannot fully understand the experience until you actually go through it, yourself.

My family and I have had three foreign exchange students stay with us and we now have an Ethiopian woman and her baby living in our home. She has added such richness into our lives and is now considered part of the family. I have learned so much about her life, her personality, her beliefs, her great food, and her overall culture. Now her son can enjoy the mixture of American and Ethiopian culture she and we can give to him. This has been a positive example of immigration and acculturation and I know that I am blessed, as is she, as not all situations are this ideal or easy to transition into.

As far as my own personal experience with culture shock goes, I have not had it too bad. I lived in one place my entire life until college and now am living in the splendid city of San Francisco where I am able to continue my customary lifestyle with a few flavorful embellishments. I do think that it is necessary to have that link to your past, your community, though. During the first semester, I had to go home for a weekend to get a reality check and to be with my family and comforting friends. Change is exciting and can be a wonderful thing, but if it is not taken with precaution, it can also be terrifying. I like to use the cliche of "everything within ration." That usually solves the issue of culture shock for me, but like I said, I am a lucky case.

Now, to address the issue of the American melting pot, I do believe that it is two fold. America, although democratic, is not the perfect little world that it is painted up to be. Life is still hard here and it is even harder to blend in and be "American." With that in mind, I do not think that we can all melt together in one happy society simply because of our geographical location; everything takes work and effort. Some areas are more accepting than others, as is the same for people and their different tolerance levels. Personally, after watching the video my feelings toward immigration have only become stronger in that it is a necessary process for our government and country to allow in order to create a better, more peaceful, and well-rounded world. Being American does not mean you are Anglo-Saxon, it means that you are Mexican, Korean, Indian, Black, Australian, European, or whatever other ethnicity there is. There is no one typecaste of an American and as such, there should not be any discrimination towards those who do not "fit in" because, if you think about it, none of us really do.

Immigration and cultural acceptance is a large part of what makes this country what it is, so to say the immigrants tear away at American culture is a lie and a cheap shot.

4/14/04
Donna Mckay
St Louis Missouri
The New Americans really opened my eyes and my heart to the daily struggle to live in a new country like America. We so often take the minor things in life for granted this video really made me appreciate new immigrant struggles and successes.

4/14/04
Montvale, NJ
New Americans was the first TV Telecast in US which made me to understand that there are few(PBS) people in this country still have a heart & time to spend on immigrants like us.The best series ever.I usually never watch TV, but accidentally I saw the last episode and its my story completely. please keep up the good job and please re-telecast once again because I missed first two episodes(1 &2).please just drop in the schedule if in anywise you want to telecast.

I went through all the possible struggles physically, mentally, morally, spiritually only after coming to USA not in my Country even though it was the poorest one. This is land of freedom provided you pass all the initial struggles.

4/12/04
Chris
San Francisco
After watching a part of the New American documentary in class I realized how life changing immigrating to America. I am a first generation American. My parents immigrated to the States from the Philippines in the early 1970s. Upon coming to America my parents faced many of the same challenges that are expressed in the documentary. While the problems my parents didn't have to face the same degree of problems as those individuals in the documentary. I know that there were some similarities in my parents integration into American culture. The most prevalent story they tell me is how different the American customs were from the Filipino customs. While there were similarities such as religion. What helped them the most, like Namia, was they had family or friends already in the United States. With their support, the transition into American culture was much smoother and they were still able to retain their Filipino roots.

The New Americans documentary really opened my eyes to how many people still immigrate to the United States on a yearly basis and how important it is to hear their stories.

4/12/04
I cannot tell you how many times my eyes swelled with tears when watching 'the new americans'. Weeks after its broadcast, the individuals, stories, images, and human-ness are vividly recalled and felt. To look at an immigrant (or another person for that matter) in the same way, would be difficult now.

I am not an immigrant, nor were my parents. Yet, 'the new americans' struck me as being terriblly familiar. They appeared like intimate reflections of all of my relatives and all of the powerful efforts made by people I've met to take risks, shoulder responsibilities, and struggle for something not yet known or seen.

The characters, cultures, reasons for emmigration, etc. were so well chosen in this film. The filmakers showed sensitivity and integrity in developing the scenes by balancing the customary, matter-of-course happenings with the remarkable and dramatic events one inevitablly encounters when leaving family and existing in new surroundings.

I'd like to congratulate and thank PBS and the film studio who put this together. THe series ought to be seen again, by more Americans (old and new, and, old and young) with more discussion and more dialogue about what it means (and what it has meant) for the United States to have had most of its population abruptly toren from their 'mother' lands at some point in the last 400 years.

4/12/04
susan
richfield OH
everyone keeps saying how 'educational' and 'enlightening' this program was - and yet they continue to judge. Some people, like Senora Flores, are just not mentally or emotionally equipped for the particular hardships that come with immigration - does this make her a bad person? it does not. it makes her a woman who grew up in rural mexico and spent her lifetime up to this point rearing five children and serving her father and father in law - what a shock kansas must have been indeed. And the bad rad Hatem is recieving from some? He grew up here, in the states, and so his heart is with the plight of the palestinian people for equality..Naima grew up with the fighting and she just wants peace in her life....no one is right, no one is wrong, if you haven't learned that by watching this series, then obviously you missed something in veiwing..and were not educated or enlightened at all.

4/12/04
Paula Stinson
San Francisco, CA
What a brilliant use of television to tell people's stories. I used to work with aid projects in the West Bank and Gaza, and I have met people like Naima many times, but have never heard their stories told here on television so well, the good and the bad. My heart goes out to all these wonderful people who are struggling to make it in the "not so promised land." You have also held a mirror up to American culture as much as you have introduced us to those who have different material, spiritual and cultural values. I hope you had a huge audience.

4/12/04
lisl auf der heide
santa barbara ca
Rarely has a tv program touched me so deeply. I came to the US from Austria at age 16 and now, at age 82 have spent by far the greatest part of my life here, but like the immigrants in your series, roots will not be denied. I want to thank you for producing a superb show and a heart-warming and true picture of what it is like to be transplanted, especially for those who are not young. My mother was 50 when she came and could never really adjust, while I married an American bore American children and feel very much American.

The heartache and difficulties experienced by the immigrants depicted affected me deeply and I also would very much like the opportunity to help the Mexican girl who wants an education. Please do re-run this program and continue to produce more like this one.

4/12/04
Allentown, PA
My wife and I watched the series with tears and joy.

We are first generation immigrants from Taiwan. The similarity of emotional experience is so touching to us that we traced back our own stories while watching those families in the series.

Americans, new Americans. Dreams, fear, joy, exicitement, disappointment, accetance, memory of the old country, ......

This is an American story!

4/12/04
Teresa
Covington, Kentucky
This was the most engaging documentary I have seen in a very long time. I can't wait until you broadcast it again. It's must see TV for every American. I really felt compassion for Isreal and his family as well as the other immigrants. In Isreal, I see his struggle in the eyes of my brothers and co-workers who are American but struggle still to find steady employment to support their families. As a woman I now understand their plight. This documentary made me actually feel it at an emotional level I had not experienced before. It must be even more difficult in a strange land away from your culture and family. My family are not immigrants but we often feel like strangers in our own land. I am thankful for the struggle my parents endured to see that we had a nice home and schooling. It came with a great deal of their own sacrifice and I see this same sacrifice in the eyes of the new immigrants. It showed that we all want the same things in life. The only negative was the comment that the Palestinian man said when tell the young boy that that is the US we don't use the Metric system because we think we're better than everyone else. That is not true. NOT ALL Americans feel that way and he should not spread such lies.

4/12/04
Maryam
New York, NY
This was the most amazing, moving program that I've ever seen. I sat riveted to the tv for three days and felt like I was experiencing everything along with the families. Each story was beautiful and the documentary was so well done.... I really wish that everyone could have a chance to see "The New Americans" and increase their insight on the world and compassion towards other people.

4/12/04
Maria
NYC, NY
I'm an immigrant from Dominican Republic. Please continue to follow the lives of the featured immigrants in your story 5, 10, 15, 20 years from now. This is excellent film making. I love PBS for bringing this into my home. Totally fascinating!Thank you.

4/8/04
Baheyeh
Chicago, Il
Please re-broadcast this documentary. I've heard many wonderful things about the lives of many aired in this documentary, especially the Palestinian couple. I'm at the edge of my seat reading the summaries of episodes and commentaries by the viewer's ...I really missed out!

It's interesting to read about the different views husband and wife Hatem & Naima share about Palestine. She grew up in Palestine and wants to mesh with the American culture; whereas Hatem is born and raised in the States and feels stronger about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict than the Palestinians. I give them a lot of credit, and admire qualities in both. Their mixture of personalities together are great.

It's not often we get to see/hear real stories. Instead, we are bombarded with false information the media constantly projects. Thank goodness for PBS!

Also, PLEASE continue to air programs such as these that give us a real understanding of people around the world. :o)

4/8/04
Greg Romero
Wilmington, NC
I am usually critical of PBS's choices of programming because it is many times left-leaning, but The New Americans was great. It should be required viewing in schools in order for the next generation to be more understanding of the immigrants' difficulties.

4/8/04
Matthew Glesne
Los Angeles, CA
I add my kudos to the list. I was particularly impressed that the program never felt like it had to have a happy ending or to show America in a good light. This is a major problem with many documentaries, that in trying to be balanced they lose the truth. This program showed the truth - the great hopes and dreams placed on immigrants - and the difficulty to readily acheive those dreams in 2004 America.

4/7/04
Mark Shiblaq
Farmington Hills, MI
My thanks go out to the producers and directors of this program. The show was excellent and heart-warming. My thanks to PBS for airing such great content.

I really liked all the immigrants and their heart warming stories. I really enjoyed the Mexican family's story and the Palestinian couple's plight.

With all the reality(Hollywood reality)shows, violence and sex oriented shows on the air today, PBS shines in broadcasting people stories about real people and their struggles to come to America. An immigrant's life only begins when they complete their swearing in ceremony and obtain their citizenship.

Please conduct a follow up 2 years later on these same families.

Thank you very much for this show and thank you for not participating in the villification of people of different origins, religions, and other beliefs.

4/7/04
Maggie
Toledo, OH
Great series! I very much enjoyed the stories and learning more about the struggles of immigrants from various nations. My only concern is the translation of Hatem's conversation wirth family back home. He asked about the "well-being of Jihad," the name of Naima's brother, and this was translated to mean he was asking about 'the jihad." although one of the posters brought this up, most knowledgable viewers would understand that as secular as he is, this is not language he used for the Israeli-Palestinian struggle, rather he called it the "Intifada" consistently, i.e. uprising. It's unfortunate that ingrained notions about Palestinians die hard. For the record, Jihad is a common Arab name meaning "one who strives," and the term "holy war" is a European/crusader concept.

Thank you, PBS, for allowing us the opportunity to see the "humanness" of people rather distorted media images.

4/7/04
Linda Costa
Scottsdale, AZ
I was very impressed with this program. We are all children of immigrants. I think that the Palestinian woman, Naima, really embodies what's good in America. Her ability to work with Jews and the Jewish children made me wish she were my neighbor, for I have tremendous respect for her. However, I wish her husband would take his bigotry and Anti-Semitism and go live in the Middle-East. I would never consider my child learning Arabic from his friend as being "screwed" as Hatem does when he hears his wife repeat a Jewish song. What a loser...perhaps some of his wife's internal beauty will rub off on him. One can only hope.

4/7/04
Elizabeth
Wake Forest, NC
I am not an immigrant, but my ancestors were, and subsequently I am five different nationalities (=American). Believe me, this made me realize how much more thankful I should be to them!
One of the most frustrating things I feel about my fellow Americans is their lack of world view and world experience. How small is our world! I spent a Summer in Japan, so I know a little about culture shock, but now a little piece of my heart will always belong to that country. I also spent some time in Bulgaria and Switzerland and will always have fond memories of those people and places. Programs like this enable those Americans who can't travel a little more insight into the world beyond America and how great we have it.
Having said that, I think we should measure wealth not just in dollars, but in relationships, beauty of surroundings, and the richness of our relationship with God. America does not guarantee richness in those things, and I found myself wondering if some of these New Americans would have indeed been happier cultivating these things in their home country despite their financial situations.

4/7/04
Maria Lugo
Houston, Tx
I came here with my family from Venezuela in 1991. I was very young back then, and I will never forget my childhood that I had in the Carribean. I came here, like many immigrants, hoping to get a better education. I am part of the brain drain that is effecting many countries. I think a lot of Americans don't understand what it's like to sell everything you own and to go to a country that has caused the anguish that you are going through. The U.S. is made up of Immigrants. Unless you're Native American then you have no right to say this is your land. All the Americans I know would never work the same physically exhausting shift for the same pay as any Immigrant works in the U.S. Until you want to work 18 hour days and only get paid $3.50 an hour, then you can claim that Immigrants are taking away American jobs.
The "American Dream" doesn't exist. People in foreign countries see the American Movies and think all Americans live in the Hamptons and own Mansions. The truth is that it isn't attainable.
When you come here and the American people judge you by the color of your skin, your religion, your gender, your sexual preference, and your accent, then it isn't true. The best examples of this that I related to, was the Nigerian family's daughter who was ashamed of her accent because they teased her and by the end of her high school career she sounded American, or the Dominican baseball players getting hassled by the American players because they had an accent. I think people in foreign countries are going through so much that they have to believe that the American dream is true. I feel guilty to be an American. We manipulate the whole world just to achieve our means and I feel that we should not look down on immigrants. They are trying to have a lifestyle that we all have been trying to achieve for our whole life.

4/6/04
David
Louisville, KY
The biggest myth in America is that the are "jobs Americans wont do". Even immigrants are repeating this lie. Immigrants legal and illegal (they are illegal aliens not "undocumented") simply will work for less and put up with bad working conditions. Believe me, native born Americans are being discriminated against in the certain sectors of the labor force. How many natives were put out of work in the meat packing industry when the unions were busted by all this immigrant labor? And how do they get away with hiring all these illegal aliens? What a scandal! Why are we waging a war against our own citizens?
This country never asked for mass immigration. Immigration yes, but it should be reduced to around 200,000 a year. And illegal immigration should be stopped cold and employers punished for hiring illegals.

4/6/04
Katie
Columbus, OH
This was such a good program! Thank you to the directors for their patience in filming this and to the film subjects for opening their lives to us. We need more humanizing programs like this to fight racism and xenophobia.

I was saddened to learn that Anjan's father passed away so soon after his return to India. I laughed with the joking around of the Dominican ballplayers, but felt anxious for them like a big sister as they tried to make it in the U.S. without their family network. Despite their physical strength, their emotional vulnerability shone through. My heart goes out to the Mexican and Nigerian families. They've gone through so much hell already. I hate to see them struggle for so long & I hope their children always show appreciation for what their parents sacrificed for them.

The Palestinian story was unique and long overdue. But I don't think the series gave enough background information as to why Palestinians immigrate, thereby not clarifying things for viewers unfamiliar with the conflict. The filmmakers completely skipped over the point that in addition to land loss, Palestinians simply do not have equal rights under Israeli law (or none at all if they live in the territories). Perhaps the other talkback posters would have understood Hatem's anger had that fact been addressed. Naima may go about things differently, but as the years go by she'll learn what Hatem learned as a child growing up here - that there's no running away from the conflict. I just hope that the children at the Jewish daycare don't grow up to serve in the Israeli army and help steal more of Naima's family's land. Best wishes to both of them and all of the characters.

4/6/04
Laura Ortiz
Houston, Texas
I would like to thank and congratulate all the people that were involved in making this show. Personally, this is one of the best shows I have seen and worth while spending my time.

I like all the families, I think that in one way or another we can learn from each one of them. They are all different experiences. But I would like to say that the person which I most admire at this point is Israel. His attitude and commitment towards his family is just wonderful . Specialy in supporting his wife to study for her nurse certificate. This is a good example of what it means to be a marriage and taking care of family.

It's tough being an imigrant, adapting to a new place, new people, new language it's not easy, but it's not impossible. I came to the USA when I was 9, and it was tough. Thank you for making this show. I would love to see what happened to these families. Please show more!

4/6/04
MC
Littleton, Colorado
We have a lot of Asian immigrants too like Filipinos, Cambodian, Vietnamese, etc. Are their stories not sensational enough to include in the presentation?

4/6/04
Arturo Fonseca
Mexico City, Mexico
The U.S. has been created by a huge load of immigrants from all over the world. All of them looking for "The American Dream" became part of the history of the country.
Some people don't like immigrants, imagine the country without all those people working day by day...

4/6/04
Karen
Laguna Niguel CA.
I have seen your show several times and I must say I am very impressed indeed. This show to me is like the 'Sopranos' to others; I actually get excited when I flip to PBS and see that it's on. "The New Americans" is reality in reality T.V. shows, depicting the lives of those before and after thier immigration, and holds nothing back. The expectations and the realities the migrants confront are certainly a testiment to those watching of the real issues occuring in other countries as well as the unspoken issues occuring right here in the U.S. Bravo PBS, for your bravery to broadcast a television show that shows true human emotion and the realizations of the difference between being an american and becoming an american.

4/6/04
tammy
colorado
Well I thought this was a wonderful documentary. Me, my husband and brother inlaws were glued to the TV. As a wife of an immigrant it just touched my heart. Although I can never comprehend how it feels to actually be an immigrant I learn from my husband.

4/6/04
Shawn
That series was the best documentry I have seen in a while. Excellent job to all the people that contributed to the creation/production of this heart felt/moving segement. EXCELLENT JOB!!!

4/6/04
HOUSTON
i loved this series. i though it was so educational. i feel more people need to see this, maybe if they did they would be a little less likely to judge. i am an american and i have a new found respect for people that come from other countries and just try to live the so called american dream. my only disapointment when the series ended and the time i wich it would have come on at an earlier time.

4/6/04
Joanna Moore
Winnipeg, Canada
I came to Canada from Poland in july 2003 . My Husband is Canadian.Now i'm awaiting on PR Card. New Americans was great !!! This documental film help my husband understood my situation - that's is not easy be in forgein country, that's hard speak for me different language, that sometimes I can feel lonley here. All my family staying in Poland so I miss them so badly :( I wish NEW Immigrants all the best in their New Country :)

4/6/04
tony
boston ma
The documentary has set the standart for what television should be like. I enjoyed all three episodes and very was moved by the stories portrayed.Every story had a special appeal to me. As an immigrant, how came to USA 4 years ago from E. Europe, I could feel the anxiety of Israell and his wife to make ends meet. It brought back fresh memories of sleepless nights and days spend to find min. wage job. The Indian story was really touching because it should how fast things can change and how fast we change as individuals. I really hope Anjan could still come back and make his dream may be this time in 200 weeks. I also yearn for that day when Nasdaq will again hit 4000. I was ammazed that all these people spoke the language, and I wish smn had told me in advance about what I should have expected and how hard it would have been.

4/5/04
Baljit Basi
San Francisco, Ca
I really liked this series. My heart was warmed and I was inspired by Israel and his family. I was wondering if there was a website or somewhere, where my boyfriend and I could contribute something to the family?

I disagree with the person that posted that Naima Saadeh's heart was not into her work. She seems to live for those kids and doesn't care if they are Jewish. If she had such a problem why wouldn't she just try and find other work? In fact, it seems to me that she is trying to follow the American dream, hence her reluctance to go with her husband to these rallies. The fact that a Jewish school would hire here is very telling. I am sure the same would not have been true for a Palestinian school and an Israeli teacher.

Her husband on the other hand really disgusted me. In one episode, this American who lives in luxury compared to the people in Palestine, is asking his mother-in-law what was happening to the jihad. In another episode, while he is in the West Bank, he is telling Palestinians to kee p fighting and that they shouldn't leave. Naima's brother wants to get out of Palestine and work- I don't blame for wanting to come to Anerica. I guess it is easy for Naima's husband to lecture people while he is safely living in Chicago.

4/5/04
Ivette Vargas
Atlanta, GA
This documentary has been one of the most moving programs I have ever watched. I want to give a thousand THANK YOU to everyone that was involved in creating this program. All the schools of this country should show this program. I really feel that these are the type of programs that should be shown more often on TV, not the mindless crap that most channels shown. Maybe if more people were to watch programs such as this, maybe just maybe the people of this country would better people than they are now. Also they would maybe get a small grasp of what their foreigner ancestors went through, since the only TRUE Americans are the Native Americans. How quickly we forget where we came from. As an immigrant myself I understand some of the pain and specially the loneliness one has to endure to live in this country. How hard it is to learn a new language and adapt to a whole new ?cold? way of life. I was touch by the Mexican family and could not believed how selfish the mother was in putting her happiness before her family. I am not a parent but I have seen my own mother sacrificed her youth for my brothers, and my mother and soon me will see the fruit of her sacrifice. How ?egoista? (selfish) of Sra. Flores to take her family down with her.
Please, please, please show this program again I would like to watch all 3 episodes, again thank you so much for such a wonderful program and keep up your excellent work in bringing us programs such as this. Please do a follow up on these families.
I hope things turn up well for all of them. My best wishes to all of them.

4/5/04
Rochester, NY
Thank you PBS for this program. I think this should be required viewing for a high school history class. Thanks again for this wonderful documentary.

4/5/04
This is the first time I have stayed awake all night,watching TV. The intensity and realism of this documentary was captivating. Kudos to PBS !!!I felt a lot for the chemical engineer. The palestinian couples' story helped me understand why they need to protest in the US. I felt for eldest daughter in the mexican family. It made me aware ,again, that education and hard work are the keys to make a good life here. Being an Indian and a tech worker myself, I totally identified with Anjan, although I am lucky that I (hope to have) survived the dot com buster. To me it felt that the Indians really are not that desperate to be here, unlike any other category of immigrants who are mostly here due to some strife in their homeland or poor economic conditions. Though, I am a permanent resident now, Anjan's father's words are still ringing in my ear and for the first time since coming here, I am rethinking my decision to be become american or not.

4/5/04
L. Bishop
St. Charles, IL
Thank You PBS. This program was so moving. My mother immigrated to this country from Spain in 1963. She went to school and learned English. She worked very hard her entire life to make a good home. Like the people in this program... I know it was not always easy for her. She never took advantage of this country, never took a handout and is proud to be in America as an American Citizen. I wish that there were more shows like this on television. Mainstream Television is making the world so hard and cold. We need programs that help people realize how others feel. I happen to stumble unto this program and was able to watch only the 1st two shows. I hope that you air this again. Thank You Again for such a wonderful job done

4/5/04
Lorena Aguilar-Negrete
King City, CA
As an educator, I've always enjoyed the shows on PBS. This particular series "New Americans" really touched home for me. Being a Mexican immigrant, I could really identify with the Flores family and their struggles. The beautiful thing about this series is that it brought out how the immigrant experience is universal. I could understand Israel's disappointment with the U.S. after all the obstacles and racism he encountered as a person of color. Barine's statement that she didn't feel at home in the U.S. or in Nigeria really spoke of how a lot of immigrants feel.
Like many viewers I laughed and cried with these families and I can't get them out of my mind. This show left me wanting to DO something for the immigrants that live in my community that is heavily populated with field workers. Thank you PBS for inspiring and EDUCATING!

4/5/04
Sheri
Atlanta
I can't explain how great I think "The New Americans" series was. I was glued to the TV and enjoyed every minute. Thank you for sharing such a poignant film.
Sheri

4/5/04
Lakisha
Irving, TX
I too stumbled on this episode of I.L. It was great! My boyfriend, who normally hates documentaries stopped and watched it with me. I have worked with and befriended lots of African immigrants and the story of Israel really hit home for me. I have seen the same issues, struggles and faith displayed by my friends for years. I loved the story of the couple from Palestine. To me the "mainstream" media never tells their story from a raw unbiased view. I wish them luck and may they be blessed with a little one of their own. The baseball players, the mexican immigrants, and the story of the family from India all made me feel kinda sad. Sometimes the reality doesn't live up to the dream. American is a great place, but it does take a lot of hard to make a real living here. But I do envy the immigrants sense of community. Here in American it seems that we are very divided on many levels and family is the biggest one. Someone made the early comment that the real American belongs to the Indians, but America is so much more. My ancestors are American Indian, French, English, and of course African. I love and embrace all of my ancestry!! If you separate one of them from the others, there is no me. The same thing applies to this country. You take away the African, Latino, Arabic, Israeli, European, Indian, Or Oriental and you have no moden America. At one time we were one and now we are many. Our music,language, food, culture, and even people are all a blend of many things, we cannot live in the past but can build for the future.

4/5/04
Roy
New York, New York
What a riveting documentary that has hit home especially for me an immigrant from Malaysia. You have helped me realize and put into perspective a lot of the emotions that I toil with day in and day out. Being an immmigrant is never easy and we should applaud all the individuls like those in your program who continously seek to better their lives by faith, hope and the desire to better themselves, regardless of the sacrifices that are involved. Leaving the country you were born and raised in to seek a better life in America is not an easy choice but one immigrants make with hope and faith that it is the right decision.

This is truly a beautiful and blessed country with wonderful people, each of us immigrants in our own way. Hopefully we can remember that the next time we greet someone who looks different and who may seem foreign to us. Let's try to empathize with the sacrifices and struggles that they have to endure in order to enjoy the same freedom be it financial, emotional or spiritual that each American is entitled to.

I salute you - PBS for an excellent job for making this program. It is one of the best documentarys I have had the opportunity of viewing. Thank you.

4/5/04
James Lee
Fayetteville, Ar
Watching these stories, I?m very touched by each of the stories. As a foreign student in America, I feel very connected to these families and I weep while listening to their stories.

I understand there a lot of compassionate viewers that watched this program and were horrified with Senore Flores?s wife decision of moving to California. As a result, the decision crushed her eldest daughter?s dream to study. Hence, I would suggest that if we could help her at least achieve the dream of learning English.

 


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