Racism and Poverty: Barriers to Achieving the American Dream Essay

1096 Words 5 Pages
The phrase “The American Dream” is an incredible thing. The promise of that dream has convinced hundreds of millions of people that, as a citizen of this country, you can accomplish anything if you work hard enough. Whether you want to be a doctor, athlete, or even a president, those things should all be within your reach, regardless of your class or race! America is the nation where dreams can come true. Unfortunately, for a large number of people that believe this, this is a concept that does not apply to them. Many Americans find opportunities are denied to them because of their race. Others can be found living in poverty and far from anything that would be considered desirable. Statistics show that the wealthiest 1 percent of …show more content…
Now, we were mainly taught by white teachers whose lessons reinforced racist stereotypes. For black children, education was no longer about the practice of freedom” (hooks, 296). Hooks exemplifies that even from the early stages of her life, she was disadvantaged because of her skin color. Even if she was smarter than the average white student, she knew she would receive unfair treatment. Most African-Americans have struggled with racism, and it has made it difficult for many to achieve success. For most African-Americans, the American Dream was just that, only a dream.
Today, African-Americans are not the only ones having a hard time achieving that dream of success and happiness. Currently 24% of Americans are living off of low-wage income. Fast-forward about 40 years from the adolescent years of bell hooks and you will find Barbara Ehrenreich seeing for herself exactly what it’s like to live on a low-wage income. Ehrenreich worked for Merry Maids for 30 days, receiving only $200 a week for her pay, often without even a break during the day. She illustrates the drudgery of her job when she describes their slogan “We scrub your floors the old fashion way, on our hands and knees” (480-481, Ehrenreich). Ehrenreich saw that working hard didn’t lead to the American Dream. Today there are approximately 77 million…

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