In "Becoming American", author Dinesh D'Souza attempts to defend America against criticisms that immigration to the country is based solely on a desire for social status and material wealth. D'Souza ascertains that the search for a better life encompasses economic factors, but also is based on a dream where each man can create his own destiny, without parental or cultural predestination.
D'Souza explains that these seeming superficial reasons for immigration are a result of an extremely difficult lifestyle, and compares America's prosperity to the meager life of citizens from Third World countries. He describes hardships which include overcrowded transportation, pollution, unsafe drinking water, lack of education for children, and corrupt governments, and explains that even back-breaking labor cannot solve these problems. D'Souza says that the media presents America as a land in which citizens have large homes, televisions and vehicles, and even the lower classes are well off. He mentions that in America, normal laborers can purchase high priced coffees or go on European vacations, and that unlike Third World countries, most Americans do not have to fear starvation.
D'Souza continues his essay by explaining that in contrast to other countries, in America being wealthier than someone else does not correlate with social superiority. He says that in America social equality and egalitarianism are more attainable than in India and other countries with aristocracies. He says that America exemplifies economic opportunities, and a better life, but that there is more to what makes America is appealing. D'Souza says that in America, one has a choice.
Dinesh D'Souza identifies the freedom of choice that America provides in several different areas, which include marriage, occupation, social life, and opinions. D'Souza reflects on the way his life would have progressed if he had not left India, and gives an example of his sister's predestined marriage, and the small amount of choice she had in the process. He explains that while Americans fall in love, people from India see love as a mental disorder that friends and family must save one from.
In contrast, D'Souza explains that by coming to America, he had the opportunity to experience new ideas, and ways of thinking. He gives a brief history of his beginnings in America. He first describes college and continues by noting some of his early employment positions, which included a job at the Washington Post and as senior domestic policy analyst for President Reagan. D'Souza says that in America one could even become a comedian, something his father would not approve of. He says that he was able to choose his wife, a White House intern with ancestry in five different cultures.
D'Souza begins to close his essay by telling a story in which his grandfather told him that he was lucky to be a Brahmin. He says that in traditional cultures, birth determines a large part of someone's life, including what kind of jobs one can perform, and that being from a certain tribe can be a source of protection from fellow members. He compares this to America, where brothers can lead completely different lifestyles, and choose their own religions, beliefs, careers, and wives (or life partners, if they are homosexual). He says that in America, one can write their own destiny. D'Souza states that this is why so many people are attracted to America, because America provides the freedom they would never have in their own countries.