The American dream; the dream of a lifestyle filled with luxuries and riches for every American citizen. In his article, “The Real Meaning Of The “American Dream”, Michael Lewyn states, “The term “American Dream” was apparently invented in 1931 by historian James Truslow Adams; he was referring to ‘That dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement'”(The Real Meaning Of The “American Dream”). To own a house, support a family, earn a steady income, and being able to retire early are all aspects of the American dream, however the dream does not necessarily mean everyone should strive for the exact same thing but rather, everyone is given equal opportunity: “Thus, the term “American Dream” means not one type of house on one type of lot, but an economy open to talent, whether in dense cities, streetcar suburbs, or small towns”(The Real Meaning Of The “American Dream”). A well-paid job however, is what people need in order to obtain any of these. During the time period in which this became the standard of living, not everyone had an equal opportunity. Jim Crow and various segregation laws were rampant in the Southern states, inhibiting the civil rights of African-Americans. Therefore the American dream only applied to white men. But today, we do have equal opportunity. No matter your race, religion, ethnicity, or gender, you have the same opportunity for success as everyone else. It is because of this that we must revive the American dream. We must revitalize this drive for success.
During the time period in which the American Dream originated, women did not have the same level of opportunity as men. Women during these times were seen as inferior to men, and were often viewed nothing more than their husband’s property when married. The idea that women were best suited in the home was the common mindset at the time. Women were expected to stay at home with the children, keeping the house tidy and maintained, while their husbands went off to work to provide for the family. The idea of a woman running for president would have blown the minds of people back then. Today, the likelihood of a female president is higher than it has ever been. With women being granted more opportunities for personal success, the American dream becomes less and less of a man’s dream, but a dream for both men and women.
Up until the mid 1900s, blacks were denied the same level of opportunity as white people. Segregation was heavy within America at this time, making the ability for people of color to succeed extremely difficult and near impossible. Laws made it difficult for blacks to vote, travel, purchase items, etc. The “separate but equal” laws kept restrooms, drinking fountains, schools, nearly everything, divided between blacks and whites which hindered equality. Modern day however, has lifted the gates of segregation and discrimination, paving the way for equal success. People of all races and backgrounds are able to live freely among each other.
In today’s society, there are those who try and convince the population that segregation, racism, and sexism are still the norm. They try to convince women and people of color that oppression towards them does still in fact exist. This fallacy holds women and minority groups back. Everyone holds an equal opportunity for success what others may want you to think. You have the potential for success, why not pursue it?
“The Real Meaning Of The ‘American Dream.’” Planetizen – Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education, http://www.planetizen.com/node/30899.