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A World Of Opportunity Essay

807 words - 4 pages

Segregation and oppression are two very large problems in society and always have been. Many believe the people who were oppressed by this discrimination, such as African Americans in the time of slavery and the civil rights movement, and immigrants who were looking for new opportunities by moving to the United States of America, were stuck, and could not escape from the adverse environments they were in. One man with the same opinion is James Loewen. He thinks that the social class that one is born into will be their social class when they die. He thinks that one’s destiny is decided for them. While Loewen writes in “The Land of Opportunity” that he believes “social class is the single most important variable in society…[f]rom womb to tomb, it correlates with almost all other social characteristics of people we can measure” (203), there is an abundance of evidence pointing towards the opposite. It is possible to break free from what is expected of one through perseverance and the drive to self-educate, just like Frederick Douglass accomplished in “Learning to Read and Write”.
It takes hard work and education to achieve independence. Education alone is not effective without effort and perseverance done to achieve freedom from maltreatment. Evidence of this can be taken from Frederick Douglass’ “Learning to Read and Write”. In this article, Douglass explains how education freed him from the bonds of slavery, but not without him working exceptionally hard to achieve the freedom presented by having “finally succeeded in learning how to write.” (Douglass 105) When Douglass was a slave, the only way for him to get educated was through the local white boys he met while running errands. He befriended and convinced them to teach him reading and writing by giving them bread he found leftover in the house where he lived. This was quite a risky action to commit because slaves were granted only the smallest amounts of freedom. Once Douglass told the boys, “’You will be free as soon as you are twenty-one, but I am a slave for life! Have not I as good a right to be free as you have?’” (102). That statement, had it been told to anyone in power would have acquired Douglass lashings and caused him a great deal of pain, but it did not and it generated a passion in Douglass that changed his life for the better. He turned his life away from what it was predetermined to be, and...

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