Is The American Dream For You?
A letter to my Uncle Juan,
The reason for this letter is to help you understand why the American Dream is not ideal or realistic for anyone who is a minority in this country. Recently, I read this book called, Between The World And Me, by Coates which has helped me come to the realization that the American Dream was only created to give even more opportunities to those who are of the white race and considered deserving and hard-working people.
I am sure that you have heard or know people wanting to achieve the American Dream. Well, I know that you as an immigrant are working tremendously hard to be a part of the American Dream. Many people just like you want to immigrate to the US to have a chance at the Dream. The most common reason that people want the American Dream according to author Coates is, “…to grow rich and live in one of those disconnected houses out in the country, in one of those small communities, one of those cul-de-sacs with its gently curing ways, where they staged teen movies and children built treehouses, and in that last lost year before college, teenagers made love in cars parked at the lake” (Coates, 116). But I have to wonder if it truly is realistic for minorities to have this goal of achieving the American Dream.
Coates says that, “the dream smells like peppermint but tastes like strawberry shortcake” (Coates, 11) implying that the dream is deceptive. Personally, I agree with him. Prior to reading this book, I was under the impression that the dream was invented for everyone to better their lifestyle. However, Coates brought up the point that people in the West disregarded other races and thought of them as inferior and gave them less respect and opportunity compared to those who built the West (Coates, 43–44). Therefore, the dream was not designed to be friendly for minority immigrants. However, I do believe that over time society was able to adapt the American Dream to benefit certain ethnic groups.
I don’t want you to feel discouraged about the American Dream. I want you to aim to reach that goal, but I just want you to really understand that the dream was primarily created for people who are white. As Coates says, “… there is the burden of living among Dreamers, and there is the extra burden of your country telling you the Dream is just, noble, and real, and you are crazy for seeing the corruption and smelling the sulfur” (Coates, 106). Don’t be fooled, just know that there are odds stacked against you and that you will have to overcome many struggles in order to achieve the American Dream.
Personally, I have not had a direct experience struggling with the American Dream, because I was fortunate enough to have a family that was able to provide me with the dream. Although, I have known people in my life who have been very successful at achieving the American Dream, despite the fact that the dream was not necessarily attainable for them. With that being said I hope that you will be another person in my life that will arises to the occasion.