The Reality Of The American Dream Essay

1689 words - 7 pages

English 103

The American dream has long been established as the ideal that anyone who lives in the United States has an equal opportunity of achieving success through hard work and determination. Over time, both the meaning and the path to reach the American dream have evolved. During the 1950s, mass production was taking place and jobs that required little to no education were available on every street corner. At this time, consumeristic culture was at its flourishing stages and the American dream was established as the accomplishment of moving up the socioeconomic ladder and having a white picket fence around your home. As time passed, many manufacturing industries started moving overseas leaving many lower to middle class Americans without a job. The American dream has morphed into the ideal that job security and economical independence are the most important things to be successful. Nowadays, many jobs demand a more educated workforce, and in order to achieve the long sought American dream, one must obtain a higher education. However, there are factors such as race and gender that hinder the opportunities available for all Americans to pursue higher education and have a fair chance at achieving the American dream.
In the country that supposedly grants an equal opportunity to succeed, race and ethnicity still play a role when it comes to who gets a fair shot at achieving the American dream. In Linda Darling-Hammond’s article Unequal Opportunity: Race and Education, Hammond states that, “Americans often forget that as late as the 1960s most African-American, Latino, and Native American students were educated in wholly segregated schools funded at rates many times lower than those serving whites and were excluded from many higher education institutions entirely” (Unequal Opportunity: Race and Education). As recently as 50 years ago, minorities were legally excluded from educational opportunities because of the color of their skin. This would not have affected them as severely then, when jobs that required minimal educational background were readily available, but now that jobs require more than just a high-school diploma, it’s much harder for them to get jobs. Hammond brings to attention that many minority students tend to be segregated into schools that offer less resources. He states that a combination of policies “...leave minority students with fewer and lower-quality books, curriculum materials, laboratories, and computers; significantly larger class sizes; less qualified and experienced teachers; and less access to high-quality curriculum. Many schools serving low-income and minority students do not even offer the math and science courses needed for college, and they provide lower-quality teaching in the classes they do offer. It all adds up” (Unequal Opportunity: Race and Education). While Caucasian students are getting high-quality teachers, the resources that are necessary to succeed in school, and more preparation to get a college...

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