Is the American Dream still alive?

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3 thoughts on “

  1. I think the first article is really simplifying reaching the American dream. The issue is far more complicated than knowing math and getting a college degree. I think it begins in childhood. In order to get a degree in the first place, one must go to college. In order to go to college, you must graduate from high school with decent grades, have good standardized test scores, and have the money to pay for a college degree. These are all things that can be limited because of your ethnicity and socioeconomic status. In a land of the privileged, it is difficult to come from so low on the totem pole and reach your highest potential. With limited resources, bad school systems, or parents that may not even speak English, it can be almost impossible to make it out of high school, let alone into college. Resources just aren’t available to everyone everywhere, and the author of that article is ignoring that.

  2. “American Dream” is itself a paradoxical phrase. A dream has endless connotations. In one sense, “dream” and “reality” do not compromise. In another sense, dreams are the most concrete, permanent, and untouchable things in existence. Dreams can and do escape the bounds of mortality, physical limitations, and practicality. But what happens when dreams become expectations? Can dream and reality be joined in union, or would this be catastrophic for the despair and disappointment that might ensue? The American Dream has built a nation. It is a magnet that continues to attract people to the United States, even today. Especially today. What are the implications of this dream, and who are the dreamers? Is the dream fulfilled? Who is the judge?
    I watched a film recently, as an assignment for my Latin American Literature class, called Sleep Dealer (2008). It follows a young Mexican man from Oaxaca as he tries to pursue personal ambition and passion for technology in a futuristic, very scientifically advanced world. Factories called “sleep dealers” allow Mexicans to work on construction sites in San Diego via virtual control tanks in Tijuana. One line in the movie hit me like a punch in the stomach: it’s exactly what they want – all of the work without the workers (“todo el trabajo sin los trabajadores”). In the movie, they welcome the protagonist to this factory by announcing that he has begun to participate in the American Dream. I thought to myself: if this is an analogy for the migrant experience, which I believe it is, I feel sick.
    Clearly the American Dream has not perished. Immigrants continue to enter the country daily because they seek a better life in this country. In their eyes, it is full of new opportunities and possibilities; it is full of future. Unfortunately, these dreamers when they enter the United States, and few can still see or remember the dream when their eyes adjust to American life.

  3. Although the American Dream seems to have entered an era of futility, I do believe it is necessary to rekindle the dream. More importantly, I believe that it is possible to do so. Specifically in the sphere of Mexican immigration, I have found evidence that the dream has been kept alive by dedicated Americans who understand the plight of the migrant and choose to live with unbridled compassion for other human beings.
    I found this evidence in Tucson, Arizona during the Center for Social Concerns Border Issues Seminar. Entering the class, I expected to learn about immigration, policies, and problems that have no clear solutions, because every discussion about immigration seems to cover these bases. However, what I experienced in Tucson was unforeseeable. Despite the hopelessness, the death, the red tape, the violence, the racial profiling and discrimination, despite the unimaginable breaches of justice that occur daily on the U.S./Mexican border, I was introduced to a community of hope. The words and actions of the doctors, lawyers, religious leaders, volunteers, and activists that we met that week are more resonant and beautiful than anything I have ever or will ever encounter. There are people in America who care deeply about the immigrant experience and offer themselves as aids to people in need. On a political level, immigration issues have no clear solution. The Dream is dying and the lines between justice and nationalism are hazy. The hope, however, and the love that members of the Tucson community display daily is solid and strong.
    Because people continue to live compassionately and center themselves on the well-being of others rather than their own interests, I do not believe that the American Dream can ever die. It is a dream of promise and hope. Whenever a migrant is hopeless, and hope is given to him or her in the form of an American who cares, the American Dream is fully alive.