The American dream can be dead or alive depending on individual perception. The American dream is defined as the belief that people can achieve whatever they want in life regardless of who they are or what class they are born into. It has always been about material success and upward mobility (New York Public Media, n.d.). However, America is an individualized nation, and people have varying views of what the American dream means to them. Whether it is dead or alive depends on a personalized perception.
Wealth distribution (The American Dream)
Most people with financial struggles believe the dream is dead. If you gauge the dream on material success, that is, being wealthy, living better lives than our parents, and having financial stability. However, then, it is only those who struggle financially. There is a trend of the 1% of the Americans owning 40% of the wealth.
Wealth distribution remains dramatically unproportioned. Education is expensive, and many degrees are deemed irrelevant since the country is training more people than it can absorb (New York Public Media, n.d.). Most young people earn more than what their parents used to, but they have more loans and are deep into debt. Analyzing the dream of material success, I would consider it dead.
The notion of the American dream has changed for many Americans. To determine if the dream is dead or alive, people should recognize how we got to where we are (New York Public Media, n.d.). Many people currently perceive the dream as being able to do what you want rather than materialistically.
The new version of the dream is about the freedom to do whatever you want, make individualized choices, and be able to follow your dreams, which can be materialistic or not (Abrams, 2019). We can see many people indulging in talent, becoming more adventurers, and choosing the career paths they want without other people’s approval. That is the freedom many people want as they consider themselves living the American dream.
I also agree that the dream burns brightest among those locked out. Many people have started to realize other options like having happy families (Abrams, 2019). I concur that the materialistic view of the dream applies more to the older generation, like our parents. The reason why they seem richer and more successful in life than the younger generation, who seem to have been locked out of the dream.
Another perception of the dream has been diversity and cultural integration. Black people, Asians, Hispanics, and Native Americans have become more integrated. They have more opportunities to chase their dreams and more freedom to be what they wish to be. I believe the American dream is to have a nation where anyone can thrive and achieve their individual goals.
Abrams, S. J. (2019). The American Dream is alive and well. The New York Times, 5, 2019.
Is the American Dream Dead or Alive? | Point Taken | THIRTEEN – New York Public Media. (n.d.). THIRTEEN – New York Public Media; https://www.facebook.com/thirteenWNET. Retrieved March 14, 2021, from https://www.thirteen.org/programs/point-taken/point-taken-american-dream-dead-or-alive/