The American Dream And Upward Mobility For Minorities

2313 words - 9 pages

Brought together by revolution, and reinventing itself since then, it is impossible to define America as a society or culture by a single term. If "American culture is whatever one cannot escape in the US", then the American Dream is irrevocably a part of American culture (Varenne 6). The word most commonly associated with America is freedom, and when citizens have to define what America offers them in a single phrase it is most often "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". This aligning of freedom and America began with the start of our nation, and unbeknownst to most, the term " The American Dream", which encompasses this concept, was actually coined in 1931 in a book called The Epic of America by James Truslow Adams. The myth of the American Dream, orchestrated originally through oral narration, is the pursuit of prosperity and opportunities that drives people to push their own limits and persevere in order to lead successful lives and achieve whatever goals they set. While the term brings to mind a suburban house, a family with two kids, and the self made man, for many citizens The American Dream is the reality that every citizen of the United States of America has the opportunity of achievement no matter what prejudices they may face, depending on their perseverance and luck. No matter what race, religion, or ethnicity someone is, they all have the same exact chance at success, if they persevere hard enough. If everyone works hard to achieve their goals and ultimately, their own personal American Dream, then they will succeed in their efforts. This dream, beautiful in theory, of equality and a fair chance at upward mobility regardless of race, is exactly that: a dream. Rarely discussed when the American Dream is written about, is the lack of opportunity for minorities to achieve upward mobility, specifically African Americans. In the past 30 years the American Dream became less of an oral/written tradition, and began to enter the social media world with television, which portrays upward mobility as being achievable by all. This paper will discuss the American Dream, and how new sources of social media such as television portray an inaccurate depiction of the feasibility of upward mobility.The American Dream, what most folklorists refer to as a myth, suggests the idea that in our equal country upward mobility can be achieved by anyone who works hard enough, regardless of race, religion, or belief. Unfortunately, even though our country has achieved political equality, economic equality is still a daunting factor to be dealt with. Derek Muhammad wrote in 40 Years Later: The Unrealized American Dream that "It will take more than 537 more years for Blacks to reach income equality with whites if the income gap continues to close at the same rate it has since Dr. King was assassinated." He goes on to say that "If the racial wealth divide continues to close as slowly as it has since 1983, it will take 634 years for Blacks to reach wealth...

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