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The debate about the American Dream has been common in recent years. Some people have held that the American dream is alive, whereas others have contested this argument asserting that the American Dream remains elusive.
There are various events which have taken place in the United States that have greatly impacted the aspect of the American Dream. Nonetheless, the future of the dream rests with the people and their resilience in pursuing it. This paper will elaborate on the concept of the American Dream in a modern day America.
The American Dream
The American Dream can be defined as a summation of national values entrenched in the culture of the United States. The dream emphasizes on the freedoms and rights of American citizens, and promises the prospect of prosperity and accomplishment. In early 1930s, James Truslow Adams defined the American Dream as something different from the conventional belief.
He argued that the dream should not be defined in terms of material things and good employment opportunities. Instead, the definition should be based on social grounds, whereby every individual has to exploit his or her potential maximally irrespective of his or her background (Davis-Laack,para 4).
In essence, the definition of the American Dream depends on an individual. Some people define it in respect to economic success; others in terms of education; while others define the term in relation to equality in social justice. It is true that as the American society keeps changing, so does the definition of the American Dream.
During times of economic hardship, people define the dream in respect to the economy; in times of civil strive, as the case during the civil rights movement, it was defined in terms of social justice and equality. Everyone coming to the United States holds a unique definition of the American Dream (Davis-Laack,para 5).
Factors affecting the achievement of the “American Dream”
In the pursuit of the American Dream, there are various factors which come in the way of individuals concerned. Race and ethnicity are among the various factors that affect the pursuit of the American Dream.
In this regard, the minority groups in the United States are often on the receiving end when pursuing the American Dream. For instance, when the economic recession hit the U.S., most of those who were affected were Latinos and African Americans. This is because a huge percentage of those who lost their jobs were from these minority groups (Hernandez,para 5).
Another aspect affecting the achievement of the dream is the economic environment. In this case, most individuals hope to land a job opportunity to make a living. In addition, to have achieved the American Dream, individuals struggle to have a home of their own. Therefore, people measure their achievement in respect to having secured a decent job and being able to own a home (Hernandez, para 11; Davis-Laack, para 5).
Apart from the economic and race factors, there is another factor which affects achievement of the American Dream. This includes equal treatment of people irrespective of their nationality, race, ethnicity and financial position. In his famous speech, Martin Luther King Jr. elaborated on the need to treat individuals based on the content of their character as opposed to the color of their skin.
He outlined social injustices as a major impediment towards the realization of the American Dream among the African Americans. Martin Luther King longed for a society where everyone will be treated equally and social justice upheld among all racial groups (King, Jr., paras 13; 17).
Is the “American Dream” achievable for all people? Why or why not
In the modern American society, it can be observed that the American Dream has remained elusive to many Americans. This is because many people in the United States have found it difficult to realize the dream. The immigrant population in America is the most affected. This is because they have found it difficult to realize the American Dream.
This is despite the fact that it was the main attracting factor that made them leave their home countries. The American society is viewed as one in which democratic tenets are the main pillars. In this case, America is depicted as a society which offers an opportunity to individuals to express themselves and enjoy the necessary freedoms and rights as human beings. America is also seen as a society that is tolerant to differences and one that embraces diversity (lam, para 20).
The immigrants had a hard time coming to the United States in the recent past. Things turned from bad to worse following the September 11th terrorist attacks. The immigrant population in the United States has been subjected to unfair treatment, all under the guise of national security (lam, para 3).
Essentially, the American society often shifts blame to the immigrant population when things go haywire. Following the economic crisis that rocked the U.S., immigrants were blamed for having been the cause. In addition, in the war against terrorism, the immigrants are often used as a scapegoat and blamed for terrorist activities (lam, para 5).
In most instances, the immigrants are denied their rights and freedoms under the pretense of facilitating national security. The adoption of the U.S.A. Patriot Act has made it official to arrest immigrants without warrants and rubberstamped the subsequent detention of suspects for undesignated period (lam, para 6).
The government security agencies conduct unchecked surveillance over the immigrant population. Immigrants of Arab origin are more likely to bear the brand of the new security measures as they stand the risk of being arrested and deported on trivial grounds.
The advancement in technology has worsened the situation for the immigrant population. They are subjected to surveillance and wiretapping without their knowledge. A new program, Total Information Awareness, that is aimed at identifying terrorists is being developed by Pentagon and might be put to usage in the near future.
The right to privacy of the immigrants has been infringed as the government security agencies are protected by legislation to spy on the immigrants (lam, para 12). The immigrants also risk losing their jobs if they speak out their opinion. All these aspects make the achievement of the American Dream futile to some people.
Apart from the immigrant population, it can be noted that the minority groups in the United States find it difficult to achieve the American Dream. Racial profiling is a common trend among the police. In this regard, people of African American descent and other minority groups are arrested and imprisoned on trivial violations of the law. Essentially, there has been a bias in the manner in which the police conduct their arrests.
The future of the “America Dream”
The American Dream has remained an elusive aspect even though it is the driving engine that puts the United States in a leading position in the world. The American Dream lays emphasis on hard work which guarantees an individual some respect in the society and a good life.
The American Dream has been carried on for generations, and it still lives on. This means that the American Dream will continue to thrive in the future. As much as there are assertions that people have failed to realize the American Dream, it can be argued that this is what has made America to become a great nation.
For the American Dream to stay alive, it is necessary that people should come up with renewed energy to revamp the chase for the dream. Though it may appear as if the American Dream has remained elusive for long, it would continued to attract many people around the world.
The immigrants come to the U.S. with expectations, but they need to reenergize themselves in the pursuit of the American Dream. In order for the American Dream to continue being alive, people should not be afraid of coming to the U.S.; instead, they should come and aspire to realize the dream. This is what has kept America going. The future of the American Dream looks bright as many people from all over the world keep fighting for a chance to advance their lives, and the US is seen as the land of opportunities.
There is no doubt that the American Dream will continue to thrive now and even in the future. What is amazing about the American Dream is the fact that it keeps changing to adapt to the theme of the moment. As many more people immigrate to the United States, they hope to achieve the ever elusive dream. Nonetheless, this is what has kept people to come through challenging times.