Angelos Panagopoulos

As Interviewed by Will Basham, March 9, 2019

Angelos Panagopoulos: In His Own Words

My name is Angelos Panagopoulos, I was born in Athens, Greece, and I attended high school there.

When it comes to discrimination directed at immigrants, that discrimination exists. You cannot deny that. I would differentiate, though, the discrimination that exists against immigrants and the discrimination that exists against African-Americans. This is an important point because a distinction has to be made between the two groups, because obviously, African-Americans are not immigrants. They [African-Americans] were brought here against their will, and, there was no choice involved. So, I think that most African-Americans, or Blacks, have a right to object to the discrimination that exists against them. On the other hand, most immigrants came here of their own free will, and they came here because of a lot of different reasons. One, is to establish a better living environment for themselves, their families, their children. Others, like I did, came here, got married, and they chose to stay here because it was the most preferable choice for the whole family.

The reason why you have to make that distinction between African-Americans and immigrants, therefore, is because most immigrants accept to be discriminated against, because, as human beings weíre tribal. Tribalism is in our DNA. And because of that, most immigrants expect to succeed, but to do that, they have to work harder, they have to work longer, and they have to work smarter, and if they do that, they succeed. And thatís fine. They accept that. Obviously, as an immigrant, you donít have as many opportunities as a native-born has. Because of that, you participate doing work that Americans donít want to do. Which is harder work. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Obviously, if you do work other people donít want to do, you have a better opportunity to succeed. You have less competition. Thatís why, a lot of immigrants, because of the fact that they donít have the social support that exists among native Americans, participate in jobs that donít necessarily need that support. Basically, a small business. Creating a small business, you donít need any support, if youíre offering a product to the people, a better product for less money than a native American does, then youíre going to succeed. So, because of that, a lot of immigrants are occupied, and do well being entrepreneurs. Not necessarily because thatís easier to start with, but because they have fewer choices.

So short term, itís harder. But long term, itís better. Because, if you have your own business, chances are you will succeed. If you work hard, again, if you work smart, you will succeed more than if you were to work for somebody else. So, itís really something a lot of people conceive as an obstacle, but, in my view, itís really an advantage. That means that for you to succeed, you have to work harder, you have to work smarter, and you have to work longer. If you do that, you do succeed. If you donít do that, you donít succeed.