The American Dream?

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The American Dream?

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-12-17, 3:49

A lot of my colleagues at work are immigrants from various countries in Europe. By now, at least three of them have referenced "the American Dream" in conversations with me in contexts implying that they believe it is a thing that exists. This is interesting to me since at the same time, fewer and fewer people born and raised in the US seem to believe it is.

What do you think? Does it exist? What even is it in the first place? What does it mean and/or what does it mean for it to exist? How much do you care about any of this? :P

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Re: The American Dream?

Postby księżycowy » 2018-12-17, 10:00

I seem to recall once knowing what it meant. Something like having a good job, a family (usually with a few kids), and living comfortably. I could be remembering incorrectly and/or forgetting things, however.

As for whether I think it's still alive or believed in, maybe for some, but not in my circles.

How much do I care? I think it's very telling how much I personally care based on how well I remember it. Which isn't well at all. :P

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Re: The American Dream?

Postby Surgeon » 2018-12-18, 12:52

Well I have always imagined it as living in suburbia in a moderately big house, having two cars, a wife, two kids and a dog. And a lot of friendly neighbors. The man would earn enough money to rear his housewife and children. Enough to put them through college.

So in my mind the picture is pretty much like the 50s without the wife-beating and segregation ofc.

Anyhow a more simpler view would be a poor European getting off the boat, working hard, having saved enough money to start a small business and grow exponentially. (rags to riches scenario)

My personal AD was to graduate in the local Film University (FAMU) , get some experience and travel to the US to write screenplays and direct movies. Eventually geting an academy award. HAHA. How naive can one get.

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Re: The American Dream?

Postby linguoboy » 2018-12-18, 17:16

Essentially, it's a fantasy of the USA as meritocracy. The classic "dreamer" is prototypically an immigrant (hence the DREAM Act) who arrives penniless and through hard work secures financial success and stability and a middle-class upbringing for their children. Applied to the American-born, it's the idea that "anyone can grow up to be President", i.e. that this is a land of limitless opportunity.

But the facts are that we know there is less social mobility in the USA than in European social democracies and it continues to decrease. This is reflected in public surveys showing a majority think conditions are getting worse and that the next generation will have a harder time achieving success. Nevertheless, the vast majority of Americans (more than 4 in 5) believe that the American dream exists and that they have or will achieve it.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons


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