To be American, to live the American dream: these are two very different things that people wish to seek. To understand, many wish to be American to truly have the American dream. What most don’t understand is the meaning of the word, American. To be American is to be able to make your own decisions about what you want to do, to be proud of this country, and to realize it’s a privilege. This is what it means to be American, but in reality, it’s a term that has been lost; we’re too busy focusing on ourselves instead of others; we haven’t taken the time to listen to what other people think and their perspectives. To live the American Dream is to believe in yourself, no matter who you are, where you come from, or what class you were born into. It is to believe in yourself that you can be whatever you want to be in a place where everyone gets equal opportunities.
America is a place where people wish to go in order to live a better life, for better opportunities. People believe that America might not be fair due to the history of racism and how people of color were and are mistreated. An example of a person who was able to succeed, despite being African American is Condoleezza Rice. Despite being African American, Condoleezza Rice was able to thrive. She worked as the Secretary of State for former President George W. Bush. She was able to be successful in America and is an example of how anyone is able to become successful if they work hard enough. She was able to succeed due to coming from a hard working family. Her grandfather was a sharecropper who worked hard towards being able to pay for his first year of college. Due to his hard work, dedication, and sacrifices, he was able to become successful and help future generations succeed. As Rice states, “We in America share a view that every life is worthy and if every life is worthy, every life is capable of greatness. And what more important venue for that belief than in the education of our children.” This quote means that in America we all have a similar perspective that everyone is able to be successful. It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you come from, everyone has equal opportunities. It also means the future generation will be able to thrive with education. This matters because most people migrate to America for a better opportunity, for a better future. People want to live in America for the future generation, for a better opportunity. It’s important because it symbolizes how anyone that is in America can become successful.
Many people immigrate to America because they want the future generations to become successful or maybe because they want to become successful since there are many opportunities for people who arrive here. An example of this is Eric Liu. He was a speechwriter for former president, Bill Clinton. He is also the founder of Citizen University, a non-profit organization working to foster a strong and vibrant culture of civic engagement. Eric Liu’s parents emigrated to the U.S. from China; they worked multiple jobs while trying to pursue their education. With their hard work, they were able to succeed to provide for the future generations despite the difficulties they had on the way. As Eric Liu states, “Whether you get what you want, depends on how in depth you are with power.” What I think this means is that if you have the privilege of doing something, it would only matter if you are using that privilege for good. This matters because some people don’t have the privilege to do certain things while others do; people could be using that privilege to help others that are in need of help or they could be doing nothing about it and keep on going with their lives. This could be backed up by one of Eric Liu’s statements, “Read so you may write. To write power requires first that you believe you have the right to write, to be an author of change.” He talks about how we have to be able to read to be able to write power, or to be able to understand people or things that we see in the outside world to create change.
Some might oppose this and say that America is a place where only the privileged are able to become successful. They might say this due to the history of the U.S. and how people have been treated due to not being Americans. An example people might use could be back during World War II, when Japanese-Americans were held in internment camps. Even though they were American citizens, they were still looked down upon and as a threat, which is why more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans were held there during World War II. People might use this event to claim how even American citizens weren’t able to live the American dream which they strived for, but I believe that what had happened was unfair. It was clear that the president during that time had broken amendment rights that protected these citizens from being harmed, but since it was during a war not much was done. Even though this event is seen as negative, we also see Condoleezza Rice and her grandfather who had also gone through various obstacles. Despite the obstacles they had to go through, like injustices we are still able to be talented if we work hard enough. To be able to get an education. We could see how anyone could become successful in America, if they work hard enough would they be able to achieve it.
In conclusion, everyone in America is able to become successful. It doesn’t matter where you came from, your background, or what class you were born into, everyone is capable of greatness. We just have to take steps in order to achieve our goal, by working hard towards that goal along with making sacrifices along the way. People might not be working towards becoming successful for themselves, but they might have a different goal in mind, like working hard in order for future generations to become successful. We all are able to speak our minds and change the future with the power that we have. We are able to shape our future with what we believe in, we just have to work together to be able to achieve this, the American dream we all want to live.