Can we all live the American Dream?
// Posted by Jorien on 03/30/2013 (1:58 PM)
A population within the immigrants in America are called the DREAMers, but who is counted as one? Quoted from the immigration policy, it defines DREAMers as immigrants ‘who are under the age of 31; entered the United States before age 16; have lived continuously in the country for at least five years; have not been convicted of a felony, a “significant” misdemeanor, or three other misdemeanors; and are currently in school, graduated from high school, earned a GED, or served in the military.’ They meet the requirements for the DREAM act in which DREAM stands for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors. The immigrants who are considered to be DREAMers are mostly Mexican and often live in the southern states California and Texas.
The children who meet these standards often did not have a choice to come to the United States, since they were often too young to know what was going on and came with their parents. What one could question is whether the parents made the decision to come to the U.S. to see if they can live the ‘American dream’. Coming from the Netherlands myself, I am foreign to the ‘American Dream’, the only way that I get my information and read stories about it is online.
The ‘American dream’ has been around since 1932, when John Trislow Adam described it in his book ‘The Epic of America’. It was the idea that anybody could work his way to the top, but only through hard work. Regardless of what social class one was born in, everybody had the opportunity to grow to better circumstances.
What I have read is that it is mostly immigrants who try to go to the United States in order to pursue their American Dream. They might come from poor countries and give up everything so that they can live a better life economically. The question is, whether the ‘American Dream’ still exists, even now after the economic crisis and the difficulties that came with it. In the Netherlands there are still some people who would like to come to the US in order to ‘make it’, but these people are mainly artists and musicians. I cannot speak for the whole Dutch population, but to me it seems like our vision of the ‘American Dream’ slowly disappears, yes there still is social mobility in America, but mainly because of the crisis they view the idea of the ‘American Dream’ being achievable more pessimistic.
Coming back to the fact that since I am not from here, my only information comes from the (online) media. The media does portray a certain idea of the ‘American Dream’, as soon as there is a story of someone who became successful in America the media will link it to the ‘American Dream’. I personally think the spirit of the ‘American dream’ still exists among Americans, however it seems like the chance of getting to the top and become real successful is smaller for people who grew up in poor neighborhoods. There seems to be luck involved next to the hard work to achieve the dream.
This video is an example of online activism, that try to argue that the American Dream does exist and should be reclaimed by the working and middle class. It seems that the middle class is slowly decreasing and the gap between rich and poor become bigger. Change to win therefore tries to unite the ‘ordinary people who work’ in order to show that the ‘American Dream’ does exist and should be pursued. It can be critiqued whether the ‘American dream’ does exist or if it is not just a myth.
How is the concept of ‘American Dream’ viewed in Mexico? Do people think it still exists? Or is it just a myth? Also, does digital media demystify or strengthen the ‘Dream’?