Racism is one of the most difficult topics in American history and a topic that is often not talked about at all. In American Dream we see the story of two very different women Lucia, a Mexican American woman and Emerson a Caucasian woman both working at a detention center as officers. They come from very different backgrounds and have two conflicting ideas of what their job means. For Lucia, her parents did the right thing, they filled out paperwork, waited years for everything to come through and be legal before entering the country. But it is her feelings about the detained immigrants that creates the conflict. She believes everyone should have to wait like her family did, but Emerson believes that people should always be treated as human beings no matter what the reason is that got them where they are. Emerson is a passionate officer who wants the best for the detainees. It is a difficult reality when one of the children, Isabella is denied her inhaler. The two women differ on so many fronts, but it is when the life of a child is at stake that Emerson puts her job on the line to save this child and Lucia does everything in her power to follow the rules. When does it become okay to break the law, regardless of how you personally feel about it, to do the right thing?
(Scene opens in a detention center.)
LUCIA: (starting from off, Lucia enters, she is a Mexican woman in her mid-twenties. She presents as a hard ass but her history is the shell that she hides in.) Hey, quiet down in there! We’ve run out of blankets, so just share with each other! Or you know, just steal one. You guys are good at that.
(Lucia patrols the area. Emerson enters also in her mid-twenties, she heads to a water cooler and fills herself a cup)
EMERSON: Rough day, huh?
LUCIA: Tell me about it. They get more restless every day.
EMERSON: I don’t blame them. We’re running out of resources to accommodate them. You know, the AC is busted. Our water supply is getting shorter by the day, there aren’t enough blankets… It's a tough environment. It's hard for them.
LUCIA: Oh... So, it's our fault.
EMERSON: … You don’t sound convinced.
LUCIA: No, no, I mean. Sure, we’re running out of resources. This isn’t a luxury 5-star hotel. But they should’ve thought of that before they crossed the border. Don't wanna be uncomfortable? Don’t break the law.
EMERSON: Jesus, I guess I just thought you would have a bit more sympathy for them.
LUCIA: What do you mean?
EMERSON: I don’t know, never mind.
LUCIA: What, just because I’m Mexican you think I’m gonna take it easy on these delinquents?
EMERSON: (quieter) That’s not what I meant. And don’t call them that. They’re not delinquents. Lucia, most of these people are here because they have no other option. Some of these people are starving, homeless, jobless, or in danger of being prosecuted by violent forces in their country. These families are here because they want to keep their children alive.
LUCIA: Okay, but what does that have to do with the US? It's not our fault the governmental and economic environment in their country is so messed up. It's not our job to fix things in other countries, it's our job to regulate the system here and make sure the procedures here aren’t being violated.