The American Dream Ceased To Ever Exist
TIGIDANKAY SACCOH SEPTEMBER 23 2013
The “American Dream”, the possibility of upward mobility for EVERYONE, is not dead. For something to be dead, it had to be living in the first place.
The dream that many people live by has always been a hoax along with many other acclamations of the great equality and prosperity in America. Income inequality is at a record high and the gap between the top 1% and the middle and lower classes is widening. Gifted children from low income backgrounds are at a major disadvantage and are less likely to reach the success that is most likely to occur for children of wealthy upbringings, no matter what kind of education they acquire. Yet, this notion of the “America Dream” is still one of the most coveted concepts today and it’s about time for lower class Americans to face the truth; the odds of going from rags to riches were never in their favor.
In 1776, Thomas Jefferson avowed that everyone in America-at least the free- were subject to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence (“Principles of a Free Society”).This leads to one of the contradicting factors of the great dream: slavery in the 1800s. African-American slaves had no power over their lives. Each element of their lives was being constantly manipulated by their Caucasian handlers. Families were separated, black children were exploited and had to watch their parents get brutally beaten, while many white families, if they were not rich, at least had freedom. The “American Dream” says that everyone is given equal opportunity to reach their full potential. Were African-Americans exempt from this ruling? Historic periods have purposefully set people of color up for failure and have given them a late start.
Two centuries later, African-Americans have yet to overcome the challenges that impaired them from the start. The unemployment rate for African Americans was 16% as of 2010, which is nearly twice the unemployment rate for Asians and Whites. African-Americans have had the highest unemployment rate for 35 straight years and the economic downturns are securing their role in society as the inferior race. Those of the African-American race who are employed have insufficient jobs due to their limited education, which is caused by the lack of resources they have in possession. How big of a breakthrough was obtaining freedom for African-Americans. Black people today are still facing discrimination, although not as severely as before. Would the lives of the members of this ethnic group be different today if they were never restricted from acting on free will or attaining and education? It can be said at least that if they didn’t spend so much time overcoming challenges, which were created to make them lag behind, African-Americans would live much better lives today.
The fact of the matter is that American citizens were never meant to be equal in terms of income, race, or education. If everyone was rich, who would be in the middle or poor? America has to be balanced, with equal numbers of poor, middle class, and wealthy citizens. This vision has blatantly backfired, with the lower class making room for the middle class, and the upper class farther distancing themselves from everyone else, as Dave Johnson expresses in “Middle Class Squeezed-I Mean Literally Squished”. Johnson states that the middle class “shrank by 10% and people in the middle have to work longer to get by”. The middle class is unsubtly being wiped out of existence. This is supported by the lack of middle class jobs these days. According to Forbes’ diagram, “Disappearing Middle Class Jobs”, the number of people who work as travel agents has declined by 14% in the last five years. The amount of law clerks in the U.S has contracted by a staggering 22%. Technological advances are believed to be responsible for the downtrend of these...
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