Dmitriy T.M. reminded me of this classic performance of the song “America” from a classic American musical, West Side Story (1961; it won 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture).  The song features white New Yorkers and Puerto Rican immigrants debating about the benefits of living in America.  The “streets paved with gold” mythology is articulated by the women at the same time that the white men remind them that they face racism and poverty.

Also, Rita Moreno is awesome:

UPDATE: Commenter Jesse W. says,

…as a theater nerd, I wanted to point out it’s not a debate between white New Yorkers and Puerto Ricans, I think you just get that impression from the bad casting. They’re all supposed to be Puerto Rican; it’s more of a battle of the sexes between the men who wanted to stay in the old country and the women who wanted to come to America.

And Laura says,

…the women are arguing with the men that America is great, and they prefer it to Puerto Rico, and the men are arguing that America is racist and oppressive.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
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