Like many other American young people, I grew up learning that the “American Dream” was true. This country was rich with opportunity for everyone – even me. But the people who taught me were wrong. It’s a great concept that falls apart quickly. A simple Google search shows why.
the ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative
Within words, the American Dream becomes exclusive to citizens of the United States (even though the country was founded by illegal immigrants). Then the phrase “equal opportunity” is tossed in, which we know is just a lie. Finally, we make the American Dream conditional: one can only achieve success through “hard work, determination, and initiative.” That’s it? Geesh – why haven’t I dreamt yet?
The truth is, only a small number of people in America are privileged enough to make something of themselves. Economic disparity, systemic racism, religious intolerance, heterosexist androcentrism – the list goes on forever – restrict who can dream. And it’s those same dreamers who (unknowingly or knowingly) keep others from their opportunities.
That’s why the American Dream is a myth.
But maybe there’s a way to change the ideal. Instead of stepping on others to increase your own status, why not bring others up with you? Instead of acheiving success for yourself, why not work to dismantle the systems that keep others from dreaming? Instead of building something for yourself, why not build something for others?
Take a look around. If you’re the only one dreaming, you need to be woke.