Poverty and the American Dream

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Poverty and the American Dream
Research Paper Final Draft
Jeffery White
English 101
Section 7
December 20,2012

The American Dream has driven many people for a long time. The dream has been presented in Hollywood movies showing a family or person striving to succeed in America. When the dream is mentioned it is done so as a powerful symbol inspiring a whole nation of immigrants. However, the “Dream” is misleading because it implies there is only one rather than many. Moreover, there are many perceptions of the American Dream and its fulfillment depends on culture, age and citizenship. This misperception of the American Dream has led to the downfall of many immigrants who came in search or pursuit of the American dream. For example the lack of opportunities in the United States has prevented individuals to a proper education and well paying job. Someway along the road, they succumbed to the many distractions and or unclear subliminal messages, which can be changed through the provision of education. Regardless, for many it has been an unfulfilled dream or as many whom chose to return to their native lands or simply give up, it is for them the “misperception of the American dream” and how it leads to economic poverty. “What happens to a dream differed?” This question begins a very famous and insightful poem by American poet Langston Hughes. With this question Mr. Hughes highlights in my mind that there is no ONE American dream but multiple that can either facilitated or differed (Harlem, 1998)

A 2004 survey by the National League of Cities found that majority of the participants (23 to 65 years old) defined the American dream in terms of “material prosperity.” “For many of the older participants financial abundance takes second place to quality of life in their vision of the American dream. “They were focused on the health aspect and the ability to enjoy good health. On the other hand, “over 45 percent of the younger respondents believe that living in freedom is the most important aspect of the American dream (William, 2006).”

For many Americans the American dream is living in a country where all citizens have equal rights and opportunities. A prime example is African-American, who have experienced discrimination, tend to envision a dream that eliminates inequality and prejudice. In The famous “ I have dream” speech said by the late Martin Luther King Jr. he says: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice (Smith, 2009).”

This was King's American dream. He dreamed that all citizens will someday receive equal protection under the U.S. law and will live in a nation where “they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” This a dream held by many in America. The dream of equality besets the rights to one land, a right that was not given to African Americans.

“For many immigrants the American dream is about enjoying civil rights as well as the opportunity to gain economic security. This is especially true for new Americans emigrating from countries that suppress political and religious diversity and persecute those who disagree with the government.” (William, 2006) Hollywood and social media plays a big part in his. Many immigrants are exposed to movies and television shows. In these shows and movies they show what the “perfect American family.” This perception of this perfect family implants a better life in the American culture. It implies there is a...
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