Question du jour - The American Dream

Mar 30, 2010

I am the American dream,
The rape of Africa,
The undying machine,
The overpriced medicine,
The murderous regime,
The tough guy's front,
And the one behind the scenes

_Lupe Fiasco

Since my entry into the U.S. school system, I've been fed the idea that America is the ultimate land of opportunity, founded upon principles of hard work and individualist democracy. The idea that anyone can “pull his or herself up by his or her boot straps” is something everyone is taught at a young age, as we are also brainwashed into believing that the American Dream consists of a 3 story house, husband and wife, their 2 children, a dog, and a white picket fence gated community. (Dead up though, I found a 1st grade notebook last time I was home and this is what I wanted "when I grew up".)

It wasn’t until I got into college that I really began to question the country in which I was raised and what I believed to be the American Dream. Every class that I take, helps me realize that I have been looking at life through rose-colored glasses and that the land of opportunity comes with SEVERAL stipulations. After taking a few elective courses in Social and Economic Justice, I've become more informed about issues of institutionalized racism, exploitation, and marginalization of native minorities and non-white immigrants alike. As a result, I’ve realized that my idea of “The American Dream” is far from what it used to be in primary school:

My American Dream acknowledges and nurtures the differences between race and ethnicity, in an effort to achieve social equity for everyone. In my American Dream, the importance of black history isn’t downplayed in primary school curricula and children will know simple things such as the fact that Africa is a continent and not a country. In my American Dream, young, black children will strive to be more than rappers and athletes, because the overabundance of minority working professionals will entice them to follow in the same footsteps. In My American Dream, politics will be less about party affiliation and more about preserving the Universal Human Rights layed out by the General Assembly of the United Nations—REGARDLESS of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. And most importantly, in my American Dream institutionalized racism doesn't perpetuate a permanent lower class while paving the way for white males to remain in positions of power.

What does the "American Dream" mean to you?


Don't watch me, w-w-watch my feet....