In the United States people are often categorized by what is known as Social Class. Social Class is often thought as a large group of people, with similar economic, cultural and political status. The classes range from Upper High Class to Very Low Class. There is mobility within this system. You can be born rich and end up destitute, and visa- versa. Some believe that within this system there is boundless opportunity. The boundless opportunities within these classes are often associated with the American Dream.
But, is this dream just a dream? Are the same opportunities available to everyone? Can a person born into a low income family really compete with someone born into a high income family?
I would have to argue no. The myth of The American Dream is a real feel good story, but in reality, it is just so much easier for certain classes to excel, and certain classes to fail. And I would also argue that just because someone doesn’t accomplish the American Dream, it is no reflection of their drive and/or ambition. But, maybe, it is a reflection of situations and circumstances beyond their control that led them to the place they are.
Family dynamics could play a role. A family of successful lawyers/politicians can provide their children with the best schools, colleges and business connections available. But what about children bore into families who can’t provide the best schools, colleges and connections? Are the playing grounds for the children equal? What about single parents? How can they work extra hours or second jobs when there is no one at home to help them? What about people who can’t afford college? Are they going to get better than a minimum wage job with only a high school diploma? Or the people who take out multiple
loans for school. Would it benefit them to go back to school for a master’s degree, acquire more debt, with the hopes of that ever elusive “dream job”? When all the different scenarios are considered, do we all have an equal shot at the American Dream? I do not want to imply that affluent children do not work hard, and deserving of their success; I am only suggesting that since the child was already being groomed for success, their ability to capture the Dream may have been a bit easier.
I do believe the “American Dream” is out there, I do not believe that everyone is on an even playing field when it comes to achieving it.
Posted in: Blog, PatStrickland