The Utopian/Dystopian American Dream: Immigration and Labor in Latina/o Science Fiction

Writing Ourselves Into the Future

Art and culture themselves are time travelling, planes of existence where the past, present, and future shift seamlessly in and out. And for those of us from communities with historic collective trauma, we must understand that each of us is already science fiction walking around on two legs. Our ancestors dreamed us up and then bent reality to create us.” —Walidah Imarisha

The Adventures of Don Chipote, Lunar Braceros 2125-2148 and Sleep Dealer illustrate the histories of immigration and labor driven by hyper-capitalist and neoliberal governments and corporations. The Adventures of Don Chipote is rooted in the actual history, while the two other science fiction texts offer a glimpse into the future for what can be expected and if any hope can be offered.  Our present reality has already begun to take shape and put us on the path to dystopia. With President-elect Donald Trump, our future, particularly for people of color, is entirely uncertain and daunting[1]. Plans to build a wall that Mexico will pay for echoes the border-dam and privatized water found in Sleep Dealer, while deporting “illegals” from the U.S. repeats histories from The Adventures of Don Chipote, and can be taken to extremes such as the Lunar Braceros 2125-2148’s Reservations that intend to get rid of a “nuisance.” Therefore, it is crucial that we evaluate these narratives not just as works of fiction, but as a projection of our present social realities and possible futures. We must begin to think critically about the dystopias that we live in now, so that we may avoid being erased by government and corporations that hope to achieve a utopian vision that does not include us. Therefore, these texts not only serve as a warning to present and future generations, but they also signify hope, resistance, and the will to fight against oppressive systems through collective action so that we may write ourselves into the future.  

[1] On January 27, 2017 President Donald Trump issued an executive order (Muslim ban) to rid "radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America.” 

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