First Generation

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Heidy Nuñez
Prof. Gleason
Eng 1A
8/29/12

Reading Response #1
In James Baldwin's essay, "The American Dream and the American Negro," the author’s main argument reflects on the experience of black Americans being excluded from the so called “American Dream.” According to Baldwin, his culture and entire history is meaningless in the white society around him. The author states, “It comes as a great shock to discover that the country which is your birthplace and to which your life and identity has not, in its whole system of reality, envolved any place for you.” Baldwin reflects on his own experiences and realizes that the American Negro, those born in the same country as the American Whites, have contributed as much or more to built the nation it is today, but are not equal and are completely subjugated among their society. Baldwin expresses many concerns about American Negroes being able to have the opportunity to live up the ideals and becoming part of the“American Dream.” Among many of his concerns he often refers to a major concept being, inequality. For example, he makes a statement that poor whites are brought-up believing that no matter how difficult times may be and how bad things could get, atleast they are never going to be as bad as being a Negro. At the end of his speech Baldwin summarizes his thoughts on what it will take for an American Negro to fulfill the American Dream and states, “Until the moment comes when we, the Americans, are able to accept the fact that my ancestors are both black and white, that I am not a ward of America...I am one of the people who built the country- until this moment comes there is scarcely any hope for the American dream.” During the time when Baldwin wrote his speech there was segregation among blacks and to his belief, African American were never going to be part of the American Dream , until this segregation ended. According to my understandings, the American Dream is formed by...
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