The American Dream: the image of a white picket fence house with a perfect family, two educated children, one girl and one boy and the mother and father both working without worrying about financials concerns. This is the typical example of the American Dream; it is called the stereotypical dream. The Oxford dictionary states that the American Dream is, “The traditional social ideals of the US, such as equality, democracy and material prosperity.” However, I firmly believe the American Dream is to be accepted, to be free and to be equal; overall the dream is to pursue personal happiness. I strongly believe that the American Dream was not attainable in the past, is not attainable in the present day and will not be attainable in the future. Immigration is a prime reason why the American Dream is unachievable.
I feel that poorer individuals appreciate and make the most of the little things they have and this would suggest that their money worries does not affect their ‘dream’. I also believe, despite the fact they are struggling financially, they still put others before themselves, ensuring their children have the opportunity to lead a ‘better’ life, the chance they themselves never had. Immigrants strive to fit in with the US ‘crowd’ as they don’t want to be seen as different. Immigrants flock to America so that they too can grab a piece of the exciting, spectacular dream that they perceive that America offers. Individuals arrive in the USA expecting every day to be like the fourth of July.
The harsh reality is far from it. In 2012, overall crime rates rose to roughly 10.2 million; America ‘the land of opportunity’ is home to nothing but crime. They then realised the world they had stepped into involved a lot of hard work with little rewards as the median household income is $50,502. [3: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/American_Dream][4: http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm][5: http://www.mybudget360.com/how-much-do-americans-earn-what-is-the-average-us-income/]
The idea of the American Dream is that a person, no matter their race, class or background has equal opportunity to succeed as they would stand or fall by their capability and accomplishments. I strongly believe equal opportunity in reality is non-existent as discrimination is widespread in the US. Both sexes compete against one another for power and command in the workplace; however, men are usually seen as the powerful gender as they are given the higher positions. Education is another issue within discrimination- the quality and quantity. Education has a long term impact on an individual as poor educational success impacts directly on employment prospects, poverty and limited ability to contribute to American society.
Students from impoverished homes who attend racially segregated schools are often given exposure to the better standards of education and opportunities to forge good social networks, of the type that is usually enjoyed by students in weather predominately white schools. The wealthiest ten percent of US school boards spend almost ten times more than the poorest ten percent, demonstrating that not all schools have equal school resources. Unequal academic opportunities also occur; Blacks and Latino students scoring the same results as whites and Asians are less likely to be placed in fast track courses.
I believe this evidence indicates that discrimination still exists in America today. Real equality means not judging a book by its cover, treating it differently because of what may look like or where it came from, none of that is important; it’s about the quality of the story within. For some the American Dream is having a successful job which brings financial security and a comfortable life. However, employment is a major concern in America as a significant number of Americans have given up job hunting or are only working part time. The number of unemployed Americans is currently 22.7 million; 12.3 million are unemployed and want work but have stopped the search, 2.4 million are working part time and 8 million can’t find full time employment. Roughly a quarter of Americans between the ages of eighteen to thirty are still living at home relying on their parents. The majority of Americans are on the brink of poverty because there aren’t enough jobs to go around. I passionately believe the American Dream will only remain a dream since having, or not having, money is a controlling factor.
The final, compelling reason to why the American Dream is not achievable is the expensive health care system. America does not have an NHS system as is available to the UK citizens and they must ensure against possible ill health- many simply can’t afford to do this. Therefore US national lives are in constant threat of increasing cost of health insurance. This is a worrying issue for the US government too; the latest statics from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that health care costs in America were around $147 billion to cover health complications from obesity alone. Being obese costs $6,454 per year. In twenty years experts predict that over half of American adults and the majority of children will become super-sized. In conclusion, I passionately believe the American Dream is not achievable due to the four key points which have been explored throughout the context; immigration, lack of equal opportunities, unemployment and health care. The American Dream emphasises being perfect, but perfection is not humanly possible and neither is this so called dream.
Jasmine Chalk [6: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/inequality_in_a_workplace#cite_note-Devey-2][7: http://www.aecf.org/upload/publicationfiles/fact_sheet3.pdf][8: http://www.aecf.org/upload/publicationfiles/fact_sheet3.pdf][9: http://www.aecf.org/upload/publicationfiles/fact_sheet3.pdf][10: http://www.rpc.senate.gov/policy-papers/january-2013-unemployment-report][11: Young U.S. Adults Flock to Parents’ Homes Amid EconomyBy Kathy Warbelow & Frank Bass – Sep 25, 2012 5:01 AM GMT http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-25/young-adults-flock-to-parents-homes-amid-sour-economy.html][12: ‘Real Cost of Living’: Price tag for obesity is $6,454 a yearby Carmen Wong Ulrich (Perigee Trade, 2010) http://www.today.com/id/40844081/ns/today-today_books/t/real-cost-living-price-tag-obesity-year/#.UhZXwpJJOAg][13: ‘Real Cost of Living’: Price tag for obesity is $6,454 a yearby Carmen Wong Ulrich (Perigee Trade, 2010)http://www.today.com/id/40844081/ns/today-today_books/t/real-cost-living-price-tag-obesity-year/#.UhZXwpJJOAg][14: ‘Real Cost of Living’: Price tag for obesity is $6,454 a yearby Carmen Wong Ulrich (Perigee Trade, 2010)http://www.today.com/id/40844081/ns/today-today_books/t/real-cost-living-price-tag-obesity-year/#.UhZXwpJJOAg]
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