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Hoot! You just asked your first question! Hang tight while I find people to answer it for you. You can thank people who give you good answers by clicking the 'Good Answer' button on the right!
This is the passage it comes from: Courage to Speak
“Any volunteers?” Ms. Chavez scanned the class. Ming slouched farther down in her seat. “Come on now, you’ll all have to interview someone sometime this year. No one wants to go first? Okay, I’ll just have to choose someone.” I am an ant, she won’t notice me, Ming thought. “Ming, why don’t you go first? Come on up and pick a name out of a hat.” Ms. Chavez shook the slips of paper around in the hat. Ming dragged herself up to the front of the room. She drew out a slip of paper.
“Mrs. Russo,” Ming whispered hoarsely.
“Great, the librarian! You’ll have a fine time interviewing her. Now just remember to ask her the questions we came up with, record her answers, and then you can present them next week.” Ms. Chavez cheered as Ming quickly returned to her seat.
Ming knew Mrs. Russo was very nice. She had helped Ming use the computer to find science articles last week. Ming knew she could interview Mrs. Russo. It was the class presentation afterward that she dreaded. Even back home in China, Ming had hated speaking in front of the class. Here in the United States, it was worse. She spoke slowly and with a thick accent. Ming sighed and packed up her books. She had a free period next, so she might as well get the interview part completed.
Ming found Mrs. Russo in the reference section of the library. “Hi, Ming!” Mrs. Russo said cheerfully. “Need more articles on chimpanzees this week?”
“No, I need to interview you,” Ming said quietly. She suddenly felt shy. Why had Mrs. Chavez given this assignment?
“Oh, an interview for what? The school paper?” Mrs. Russo asked.
“No. For Mrs. Chavez’s ESL class,” Ming whispered.
“Sure, ask away! I’ll just keep stacking these books if you don’t mind,” Mrs. Russo replied, turning to the shelves. Ming felt relieved. It was much easier to interview Mrs. Russo’s back.
“Are you American?” Ming asked.
“Yes… I mean, I was born in Argentina, but I moved here when I was 25. I became an American citizen. Most of my family still lives in Argentina. My husband and our children live here. I am like all Americans, multicultural,” Mrs. Russo laughed.
“Is English your first language?” Ming asked.
“No, Spanish is,” Mrs. Russo replied.
“What does the American Dream mean to you?” Ming asked.
“In Argentina, my husband and I couldn’t make enough money to support our family. We knew that we could in the United States. We also knew we’d have to give up being near our family. The American Dream is not perfect. It takes courage and sacrifices, but it is worth it.” Mrs. Russo turned to Ming. Ming smiled. It takes courage not to act like an ant. She understood why Ms. Chavez had given this assignment. She could find the courage to share what she had learned about Mrs. Russo in front of the class.
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The American Dream would likely be the cultural reference.
picking a name out of a hat could be too - I imagine that if you presented this phrase to someone from a culture without writing it would not make a lick of sense. And people from different cultures could have a different method for picking someone at random. On the other hand American Dream is totally a cultural reference.