The American dream is based on equality for all people and abhors discrimination of anyone based on their race or religion. It is anchored on the Declaration of Independence and reflects the values of the American founding fathers, a vision for prosperity for the American people and a land of countless opportunities for all. Many centuries have passed, and the American dream still lives. The full realization of the dream is yet to be seen.
To comprehend the steps that have been made, one needs to take a mental flight to the 20th century where discrimination was the order of the day. The blacks were subjected to a life of inferiority and suspicion. Brent Staples in his quote Just Walk on By illustrates the sufferings and indignity of the black people (Kirszner). His story is full of misery occasioned suspicion from both the whites and the law enforcers. Being black in the society was synonymous with being a criminal. One cannot escape the suspicious lenses of the whites that view blacks as rapists and muggers. A black can hardly pass the streets especially at night without being noticed. They are, however, not noticed for their distinct features but rather for the wrong reasons. It portrays a society that has stereotyped a race.
Brent Staples narrated his first encounter with this blatant stereotype when he joined the University of Chicago. While walking in one of the avenues, he came across a white woman seemingly in her early twenties. The reaction on the woman's face at the sight of a black man could only compare to one who had come across a mugger or rapist. She threw quick glances at him then paced away (Kirszner). Her flights made me feel like an accomplice in tyranny". This attitude illustrates the inability of the society to distinguish even the most law-abiding blacks from the tag of criminals assigned to them by the society.
The number of black males involved violence and crime was drastically high. Such fact, however, offered no solace against the alienation one continued to face because they were black. Instead having an individual identity, black men were victims of blanket discrimination.
The racial discrimination in the 20th century is not just the only point that America has drifted from its noble dream. Many a times she has veered off the path set by her dream. The Coming into the Country quotes by Jen Gish explain the American dream and the countless times it has driven away from her dream (Mandell).
The American dream envisions certain inalienable rights that must never be compromised. It anchors the freedom of choice, and the fact that no one should be punished for the choice they make when indeed they have not broken the law. The underscoring of this freedom re-ignites on of the hottest debates the country has had. Should gays be allowed to marry? The conservatives have done little to hide their hatred towards gays to the extent of feeling that the state should deny them even the freedom to marry. Many would argue that denying gays the right to marry is not in line with the American Dream.
"The moment we feel that certain rights are unalienable when considering them as ours just like our lungs so that their loss is an excision and a death, we become American." Gish. The American Dream bases on this principle and must be highly guarded. The right of people to prosperity and to achieve their full potential must never be hampered by unnecessary barriers such as where they are born (Kirszner).
America is yet to embrace the differences in her people fully. People should be allowed to hold their identity; it must never be a basis for discrimination. Gish Jen loathes a scenario that occurred at a basketball game where the kids from a team starring a Cochiti boy had to share a bottle or water while their rivals in the match had bottles of water for each kid (Jen). The incident, he terms as enhancement of communism and a stray from the American Dream that envisioned individualism. People should be at liberty to make their choices, to own homes wherever they want and live as they wish. The dream supports the spirit of mine' rather than ours'. It underscores the sanctity of ownership.
While the American Dream remains valid, it is noteworthy that more often than not the country has rolled away from the dream envisioned by its forefathers. The Cochiti boy incident illustrates that some elements of communism exist in America. The equality of all men remains an illusion to many blacks who continue to be mistreated by the law enforcers. Though the country has made much progress from the 20th century where law enforcers targeted Brent Staple and his black friends, viewing them as criminals more should be done. The Baltimore chaos that occurred this year, sparked by police mistreatment of a black man portrays a society struggling to achieve racial equality.
In conclusion, the American dream is still valid and will only stand the test of time if it is recognized and the people of America at large embraces peaceful coexistence and foster on equality for all.
Kirszner, Laurie G. The Blair Reader: Exploring Issues and Ideas. 8th ed. Boston: Prentice Hall, 2013. Print.
Jen, Gish. Typical American. Boston: Houghton Mifflin/S. Lawrence, 1991. Print.
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