Essay On The Downfall Of The American Dream

1715 words - 7 pages

In 1931, during the Great Depression, there was not much hope for anything. The stock market had crashed, banks that were holding money for their clients folded, and the unemployment rate was so high that people thought they were in a nightmare. However, James Truslow Adams came up with the idea of the American Dream. Adams said the American Dream one was the belief that anybody can move up social classes and become wealthy, no matter their upbringing, with hard work and dedication. This optimism led us out of the Great Depression and brought aspirations and dreams never thought of by Americans for the next fifty to sixty years. In the book Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing by Bonnie Lisle, Gary Colombo, and Robert Cullen, it is shown that many successes have been brought upon since the time period. Unfortunately, as many years have past passed since the idea came to be, the typical American Dream is dwindling because of discrimination due to sex and race and economic inequality. Comment by Kristine Vanderhoof: Good background on the topic Comment by Kristine Vanderhoof: very clear thesis. The American Dream has shifted downwards since the middle of the 1990s. The downfall of this belief has affected minorities more than others. As Gregory Mantsios, the director of the Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies at Queens College, explains, "In other words, being female and being nonwhite are attributes in our society that increase the chances of poverty and of lower-class standing" (400). Even though there are institutional forces and discrimination that make it harder to achieve the American Dream due to racism and sexism, there are still times when people still prove it is possible. Jay-Z, an African-American platinum-recording rapper and part owner of the Brooklyn Nets, is proof that it is still possible to achieve: "It doesn't matter what percentage--the story is that a black kid from a single-parent house made it from the Marcy projects about six minutes away from here" (qtd. In Packer 361). Coming from Brooklyn and only having a mother to rely on to put food on the table, he did whatever he could in order to get out of there. Whether it was dealing drugs or rapping, he persisted and became the best at what he did. As rampant as discrimination and economic inequality is, Jay-Z proves that there is always a chance to get out from where you are and take over the world. Comment by Kristine Vanderhoof: strong evidence Discrimination is a key factor in the fact that the belief of the American Dream is dying out. While it is minorities of all races that are being affected by discrimination, African-American people are being affected the most due to the color of their skin and stereotypes. When economists Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan conducted research regarding "white-sounding" names and "African American-sounding names," they found a shocking result: ". .. [we] found a...

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