DePaul professor, Jamaican émigré defends American dream for all
Jason Hill, a philosophy professor at DePaul University in Chicago, remembers coming to America from Jamaica in 1985 with $120 in his pocket and a desire to achieve the American dream.
His dream wasn't tarnished when he read Ta-Nehisi Coates' book Between the World and Me, but Hill was deeply disturbed -- enough so that he wrote an open letter to Coates, calling his book a “declaration of war against my adopted country."
“I thought this was a doomsday letter that he was writing to his son addressed to far-left liberals in this country who trade in guilt and black victimization,” Hill told Dan Proft and Amy Jacobson, hosts of Chicago’s "Morning Answer" radio show.
Proft is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
In his book, Coates, a writer for The Atlantic, called the American dream a lie and an enemy of all art, courageous thinking and honest writing.
“I thought that he was a big liar,” Hill said. “It was basically a slap in the face to immigrants such as myself who had come to this country and labored and aspired to the American dream.”
Hill said as an immigrant, he took advantage of all of the opportunities America has to offer and didn’t depend on anyone to help get him through school.
“I never for moment thought that the American people owed me anything, because immigration is not a right, it’s a privilege,” Hill said.
In his open letter, Hill wrote that in the past 32 years that he has lived on American soil, he has never once fought racism in a physical way.
“I’m an intellectual activist," he said. "I fight racism through the propagation of certain ideas."
Hill believes racism can be countered by advocating for individualism, the free market and capitalism.
He has a message for Coates and anyone else who does not believe in the American dream.
“It exists," he said. "It is real. It is possible. It is ours, and it should be yours."