Table of Contents
The origin of the american dream
The American Dream is a concept that has evolved over time and has been used in various ways throughout history.
The term was first used to describe the idealism of the great American experiment, which was rooted in the U.S. Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal” and that each person has the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”
The American Dream has been associated with upward mobility, economic success, and the self-made man or woman. However, it has also been used to promote equality, justice, and democracy for the nation
The modern ideologies of the American Dream
The viability of the American Dream is a complex issue, with various perspectives and factors to consider. The American Dream traditionally holds that anyone who works hard can achieve economic success, perhaps even rise from rags to riches.
However, recent research suggests that the United States has less mobility and equality of opportunity today than the European Union or other OECD countries.
The definition of the American Dream has evolved over time. A recent GoDaddy survey found that 54% of respondents defined it as “feeling happy in life,” and 49% said it involved “freedom to follow my passions.” Only 56% cited wealth as a motivator, indicating a shift away from the traditional focus on economic success.
Similarly, a Pew Research Center survey found that only 11% of the public said “being wealthy” is essential to their view of the American Dream, while majorities said “freedom of choice in how to live” and having a good family life are essential.
However, there are significant obstacles to achieving the American Dream. These include economic challenges such as high inflation, rising interest rates, and elevated consumer debt. Other barriers include lack of access to technology, education, and affordable healthcare.
There are also disparities based on race, ethnicity, and education level. For example, a survey conducted by NORC – University of Chicago found that nearly twice as many people with only a high school diploma say the American Dream is out of reach compared to those with a college degree.
In conclusion, while the American Dream remains a powerful cultural concept, its viability is increasingly questioned due to economic challenges and social disparities.
However, the evolving definition of the American Dream, shifting away from purely economic success towards personal happiness and freedom, suggests that it may still hold relevance for many Americans.
Some obstacles to achieving the American Dream
There are several obstacles that stand in the way of achieving the American Dream, which is the idea that every citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative. Some of these obstacles include:
1. Poverty: The American Dream is not accessible to impoverished families, as they often struggle to afford basic necessities and support their families.
2. Education and training: Lack of education and training can hinder one’s ability to achieve the American Dream. Access to quality education and job training is essential for advancing in society.
3. Gender and ethnicity: Women and minorities often face additional challenges in achieving the American Dream due to gender, ethnic, and social barriers.
4. Debt: High levels of debt can hold people back from achieving their financial goals and stabilizing their lives.
5. Language barriers: For immigrants, language barriers can make it difficult to access opportunities and resources needed to achieve the American Dream.
6. Social mobility: The American Dream has become less attainable over the years due to a lack of improvement in social mobility. This means that people born into lower socioeconomic statuses often struggle to improve their position in life.
7. Changing family structures: Changing family dynamics, such as single-parent households or non-traditional family structures, can make it more difficult to achieve the American Dream.
Despite these obstacles, the American Dream remains a powerful cultural concept, and many still believe it is achievable through hard work, determination, and education. However, it is essential to address these challenges and create more opportunities for people to achieve their goals and aspirations.
Prejudice and the American Dream
Prejudice has played a significant role in shaping the American Dream and its accessibility to different groups of people.
The American Dream, as a concept, is often associated with the idea that anyone who works hard can achieve economic success and prosperity.
However, this dream has been shaped by historical and structural inequalities, making it more challenging for certain groups to achieve.
Prejudice has impacted the American Dream in several ways:
1. Historical exclusions: The American Dream has never been equally accessible to all groups, particularly Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
The modern definition of the American Dream emerged in the mid-1950s during the rise of post-war consumerism, and it has been shaped by historical events and social policies.
2. Structural inequalities: The American Dream is based on the myth of a meritocracy, which implies that success is determined by individual effort and talent.
However, structural inequalities, such as institutionalized racism and gender disparities, can limit opportunities and make it difficult for certain groups to achieve the American Dream.
3. Internalized prejudice: Individuals from marginalized groups may internalize prejudice, leading to self-doubt and self-limitation. This can make it harder for them to believe in the American Dream and pursue their goals and aspirations.
4. Social mobility: Prejudice can impede social mobility, making it more difficult for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds to improve their social and economic status.
Despite these challenges, the American Dream remains a powerful cultural concept, and many still believe it is achievable through hard work, determination, and education.
However, it is essential to address prejudice and its impact on the American Dream to ensure that it remains a viable and inclusive ideal for all citizens.
Stories of people who overcame obstacles to achieve the American Dream
Here are some success stories of people who overcame obstacles to achieve the American Dream:
1. Do Won Chang: Born in South Korea, Chang came to the United States at the age of 12. He worked as a busboy and later a gas station attendant to save money for college. He earned a business degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and went on to create Yassou, a successful clothing brand.
2. Andrew Carnegie: Born in Scotland, Carnegie immigrated to the United States at the age of 13. He worked various jobs, including a steel mill worker and a railroad worker, before becoming a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist. He founded Carnegie Steel, which later became U.S. Steel, and established the Carnegie Foundation and Carnegie Hall.
3. Indra Nooyi: Born in India, Nooyi moved to the United States at the age of 20. She earned an MBA from the University of Yale and went on to work for the World Bank. Later, she became the CEO of PepsiCo International and played a significant role in the company’s turnaround and growth.
4. Aya Meradji: Born in Egypt, Meradji moved to the United States at the age of 16. She earned a biology degree from the University of Pennsylvania and went on to medical school. She is now a board-certified internal medicine physician and an advocate for health equity and immigration reform.
5. JT McCormick: McCormick grew up in poverty, with a negligent, drug-dealing father and a struggling, single mother on welfare. He worked his way up from cleaning toilets at a restaurant to becoming the president and CEO of multimillion-dollar companies
These success stories demonstrate that the American Dream is still achievable for those who are willing to work hard, embrace opportunity, and overcome obstacles.
Immigrants, in particular, have shown that America’s merit-based system allows individuals to thrive regardless of their background or circumstances.
How the american dream has been used to promote white supremacy
The American Dream has been used to promote white supremacy in various ways, often by perpetuating myths about the level playing field and meritocracy in the United States. Here are some examples:
1. Historical exclusions: The American Dream has been shaped by historical events and social policies, which have often excluded or limited the opportunities of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
The modern definition of the American Dream emerged in the mid-1950s during the rise of post-war consumerism, and it has been used to promote the idea that anyone who works hard can achieve success, ignoring the structural inequalities that have shaped people’s lives.
2. Myth of meritocracy: The American Dream is based on the myth of a meritocracy, which implies that success is determined by individual effort and talent.
However, this myth has been used to perpetuate the idea that BIPOC individuals are less deserving of success, as they may face additional barriers due to institutionalized racism and other forms of prejudice.
3. Housing and suburbanization: The American Dream has been used to promote white supremacy in housing and suburbanization policies, which have historically favored white families over BIPOC families.
For example, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) in the 1930s and 1940s promoted the idea of “separate but equal” housing, which led to the establishment of racially segregated neighborhoods.
4. Cultural appropriation: The American Dream has been used to promote white supremacy through cultural appropriation, as white people have often adopted elements of BIPOC cultures while ignoring or erasing their original cultural contexts.
This has contributed to the erasure of BIPOC history and the perpetuation of the idea that white culture is superior to others.
5. Political rhetoric: The American Dream has been used in political rhetoric to promote white supremacy, as seen in the tea party movement and other conservative groups that have used the idea to argue against policies that promote social justice and equality.
It is essential to challenge these narratives and work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society.
Continue reading : Top 10 Richest Country In Africa