Charon, J., & Vigilant, L. Social problems: Readings with four questions. 4th edition.
The American Dream thus leads to more inequality, which is the exact opposite of its ideals. The very mythological nature of the concept is responsible for this phenomenon. Because the perception is that the United States is a country of opportunity for everybody, many immigrants move away from their home countries, believing that a better life exists in the United States. The reality is however that the current economic downturn and events such as 9/11, together with the somewhat unwise actions taken by the American government, has moved the country further away from the American Dream. The concept is therefore now truly a myth. It is a pity then that so many still cling to the ideals of the Dream as if it can offer the salvation that in reality the country could not.
Rothenber, Paula S. (2004). Race, Class, and Gender in the United States. 6th edition, Worth Publishers.
The Great American Dream has undergone a massive transformation since the end of nineteenth century and the sooner we come to terms with it, the better it is for the rest of the world. The American dream was once characterized by westward expansion, 'the new world' and ideals of liberty, freedom and equality. Unfortunately all these interpretations of American dream have lost significance over the years. It is our inability to reconcile ourselves with the changing reality that has resulted in such gross judgment errors including the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and the more recent Afghan and Iraq wars. As harsh as it may sound, the truth is that America is no longer the symbol of equality or freedom. The black community had realized the sad truth a long time back as Malcolm X declared in 1962: "What is looked upon as an American dream for white people has long been an American nightmare for black people." Our leaders have so far played a damaging role in interpreting and achieving the American Dream. George W, Bush, has not yet given up on the expansion theory. For Ronald Reagan, it meant becoming rich. And for others, it means being able to live and enjoy a free life. However none of these interpretations really define the American Dream because they have only contributed to turmoil and trouble around the world and within the country. For me thus, American Dream in its original form is only an elusive concept that has resulted in conflict, confusion and resentment. We need to give American Dream a new meaning and help the nation achieve it without military, political or social aggression. The new interpretation should be more in line with Rock star Bruce Springsteen's version of the American Dream: "I don't think the American dream was that everybody was going to make . . . A billion dollars, but it was that everybody was going to have an opportunity and the chance to live a life with some decency and some dignity and a chance for some self-respect." (1)
1) Quoted in Dave Marsh, Glory Days: Bruce Springsteen in the 1980s (New York: Dell, 1984), 264.