Money and Success
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Assignment #1 Otabek Pulatov
Money and Success
The American Dream or Horatio Alger Myth can be described as a belief in freedom that allows all Americans to achieve their goals in life through hard work, initiative and smart choices. For some, it is the opportunity to achieve more prosperity than they could in their countries of origin. For others, it is the opportunity for their children to grow up with an education and career opportunities. For thirds, it is the opportunity to be an individual without the barriers imposed by class, caste, race, or ethnicity. In the essay “Horatio Alger” by Harlon L. Dalton, Dalton argues Algers ideas of what it takes for the American Dream to become reality and declares it to be “socially destructive”. Dalton explores Algers myth through socio-economical realities, like discrimination and inequality and concludes that individual
worth is not always a decisive factor in determining ones success. I, generally, agree with Dalton in that Algers formula for success is blindly optimistic to the realities of todays world. I think its a good time for our society to end the act of self-delusion and give the Algers myth a long vacation. American Dream has cost us a great price in its meaning and now its the time for us, Americans, to look at state of affairs much more adequately. In realities of todays world American Dream is rather hurting us with its misleading belief and is giving wrong life priorities.
One of the main ideas of Algers myth is that all individuals are judged solely on their worth is regardless of their race, ethnicity and social class. Dalton debates this argument stating that the racial caste system is often become decisive factor, regardless of individuals abilities. The idea that every hard working individual is judged solely on his or her worth shows up to be true only for White people, whilst African Americans are only compared to other African Americans and Asians are compared to other Asians which means that they cannot be held to the same standards as White people. Dalton supports his point with his experience in college where African American student was “named” as “the best black”, in the college. Those stereotypes which give the society false beliefs that, for instance, only Asians are good workers and disciplined people is just another example of how people of different races and ethnicities arent judged solely on their worth. Moreover, Dalton pays attention to equality barriers, such as historical and institutional meaning of race, slavery, and others to point out the fact that tandards werent and arent the same for everybody. The story of “Stephen Cruz” written by Studs Terkel is a good example to support this point. According to Cruz he strongly believed the offers came because he was a young, smart and brilliant professional. He never thought that fourteen job offers he had, were waiting for him because of his heritage and not the abilities. After two years of working for Procter & Gamble, Cruz was announced as one of the best supervisors and they were going to promote him. As he got promoted, he was “made visible.” He did not understand why he got the glass-enclosed office while others offices where enclosed. The business could show off its diversity by having a Mexican in a decent position. Stephen Cruz may have gotten offers was he white or black, but probably not as many as he did as a Mexican. It looked good to have a “good” minority. I would say that Stephen Cruz is rather, exception than the rule, because his Mexican heritage helped him, unlike others, to gain a good job positions. In general, though, this is a very good example of how the racial caste system could play decisive role in ones road to success.
Another huge point, brought up by in the text with which I strongly agree, was the fact that not everybody can reach their true, maximum potential in todays