Diversion from Original American Beliefs and Identity
America has been perceived as a country that has provided equal opportunities to anyone despite differences in racial background or social status. As the population of America has exponentially grown, over time, hatred against people who identify as different from Europeans has also grown, thus tarnishing this image. There are significant disparities in America among different racial and economic groups, causing unequal opportunities in obtaining the American Dream.
A great amount of wealth of the early immigrants of this country was accumulated through slave labor and although this issue has been buried in the past it still greatly influences our society today. Up to this day, our country is still affected by this because it makes up the foundation of this country. This is shown by the more recent individuals who have spoken out against racism. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “We have waited more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights.” This shows how the descendants of slaves, after many years, were still fighting for equal rights and are currently held in this seemingly unending fight. King also wrote about seeing his “brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society.” He meant that people of color could not escape from the grasp of deprivation and the privileged remained wealthy. To those immigrating to America, this country may be a dream come true, but to those who have come here by force and their descendants, it is a nightmare.
Many take advantage of their inherited wealth and power, disregarding the effects of their actions on those who are less fortunate. “The Great Gatsby” is a book that exposes this ugliness of America in terms of the role of economic status in people’s lives. For example, the richest characters “were careless people…They smashed up things and… retreated back to their money…and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” In “Our Revolution”, Bernie Sanders wrote, “As President Franklin Delano Roosevelt reminded us: ‘The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide for those who have little.” In the book “Black Boy”, which is a book about the struggles of people of color in America, the main character said, “Yet, all about me, Negroes were stealing…’How in hell you gonna git ahead?’ I had been asked when I had said that one ought not steal.” It is very difficult for some people to gain success in America, so some must resort to stealing or committing crimes to get the money they need. Many start at a disadvantage to others and no matter how hard they try, they can never be successful because our country has already thrown them into the water and they are drowning right from the beginning.
One of the main issues of this country is that racism has been instituted into the laws and the government making it a normality. Howard Zinn wrote, “If you have an economic system in which there must be a lower class, there must be unemployed. There must be a large pool of people working at the worst jobs and the lowest paid jobs. Once you have a system like that, then the most likely people to be victims of that are people of color.” This shows how so many people are stuck in the lowest class and they are not able to get better jobs. In the book “Black Boy” it says, “Then how could one live in a world in which one’s mind and perceptions meant nothing and authority and tradition meant everything” Racism has become a “tradition” in the sense that a certain mentality has been passed down through generations from those who were slave owners. This has passed down to the people in our government and they have used their power to create obstacles for those they feel hatred against. Since racism has been built into this countries foundational laws, it has minimized these inhumane acts caused by racism.
There is a cycle of the same kind of hatred, which has built a wall that many have never been able to overcome and few have seen over the top. It seems nonsensical that after hundreds of years’ slavery is still a problem, but it is in a different form. The wealthy have used their power to push down those who are already disadvantaged and without reason except that their ancestors did the same. One of the first things that needs to be change is the laws because people will continue to commit cruel acts since they will not be punished for it. In the present, America is not a country that fulfills the American Dream and it is not even close to treating people equally.
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