EVER HAD AN AMERICAN DREAM?

Essay Sample:

Yet, this is not the case in the United States, and is indicative of the changing face of the American Dream. Cases of people helping one another survive on the dangerous frontier, the concept of Southern Hospitality, and multi-generational family homes from the early history of the country have given way to unkindness and individualism. This is reflected in the fact that public safety nets such as Welfare and the Affordable Care Act are met with unrelenting criticism in the government. In fact, Ron Paul, has repeatedly called healthcare reform and support “Un-American” because it necessitates a response and payments from people who have higher means than others (Paul, 2013). This eschews the view that the American Dream is an idea that involves a cohesive imagining of America and replaces it with one that is disparate and predicated upon whoever is able to climb to the top, alone.
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The absence of a safety net that includes education and training for positions outside of the service industry has prepared the United States for an American Dream that does not take most of the people living in the country into consideration. Thus, the rendering of the American Dream would have to be distilled into the following at this juncture: the ability to live freely in a nation, grow on your own merits, and then ignore the needs of others as long as you get to a place in society that does not necessitate state or federal support. This is a complicated view that ultimately shows the disparity in the nation, and forms a construct of the poor American Dream versus the wealthy American Dream.
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Even still, there are greater challenges to the American Dream that have to be considered beyond the education gap: the gender and racial biases. There is an oft-quoted statistic that shows that women in the nation do not make the same amount of money as men. In fact, “in 2013, female full-time workers made only 78 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 22 percent” (Pay Equity, 2013). This is important for two distinct reasons. First, it shows that women make less money than men simply because of their gender. Second, it demonstrates the fact that poor women have a compounded difficulty when it comes to facing financial growth and challenges in the American system. In other words, it is more difficult for women to find well-paying jobs, enter the elite areas of wealth, an attend university. This means that the conceptualization of women in terms of the American dream is even more dismal than it is on the whole.
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These conditions of the American Dream in the context of people with little power based on their gender are also applicable to people who are racial minorities in the nation. One particular racial group that is at a disadvantage is that of the African Americans. Not only do African Americans inhabit the areas of America that are in the greatest economic and financial distress, but they face several other problems such as widespread racism and disproportionate prison representation. One disturbing report that tracks the rate of African American imprisonment and university enrollment showed that from the period of 1986 to 2001, there were more African Americans in the prison system than there were enrolled in university classes (By the numbers, 2012). This makes it less likely that African Americans will be able to get high-paying jobs, while all but ensuring the fact that there will be continued problems in the realms of imprisonment, poverty, and cyclical damage to the socio-culture systems.
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Thus, the affect on the American Dream for African Americans, or even African American women, is one that has to account for having little support in the area of social culture, few opportunities in the educational field, and increased need of a social safety net. The American Dream for them is one that is predicated on survival, not even able to seek out the benefits of the overall system.

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