The Myth of Individual Opportunity in America

American Dream and Inequality

American citizens believed in the American Dream where everyone thought that they had equal chances to education, employment of which would lead to an ability to become financially stable or wealthy. This idea prompted the people to suppose their endeavors would pay by being able to live better lives happily. However, this has not been the case, money and success over time have become two inseparable terms, individuals tend to measure triumph with the amount of materialistic items one is in possession with and not the hard work and how contented one is with their standard of living. Looking at the term opportunity, which is a window that makes it suitable for one to do something or achieve a goal. In our day to day lives, not everyone has the same opportune moment to reach their target or acquire employment, some have got fewer chances and other big openings. So, the myth of individual opportunity does not act as a fair game to everyone but rather discriminates a lot of other persons.

Factors that Influence Opportunity

Every individual is born with freedom in the world with legal entitlement to undertake some tasks, but when it comes to opportunity, this is determined by a lot of factors like gender, race and the status ranking. There are those opportunities that differ from men and women. When it comes to race, most individuals in the states were immigrants, and thus their skin color would alienate them from the chances that were offered to the native Americans (Goldie). The chances of acquiring schooling and landing a job were meager as compared to the Caucasians. For example, Jay-Z, an African American, a renown American rapper, did not just find himself a millionaire, he had to find a way to develop his music career. He used to at some point sell drugs which were illegal in order to get paid, listen to records his parents had to develop his craft in hip-hop. On seeing that no one noticed him, he started his own label, of which was tough but with time one of his records hit. Considering the lengths he had to go to achieve his goal, it's amazing how he pulled through bearing in mind his originality. But in case he was an American, this would not have been so tedious for him, he would not have had to sell drugs as a hustle. Moreover, another aspect is the social class ranking, some people are born in well-off families and for them hustling is a dream, this people dwell in wealth through inheritance, and their graph continues to rise with time because they have got better resources to employment, education and medical services. Based on Class in America in 2012, by Mantiosis, it provides an in-depth analysis on divide among the Americans. The gap between them and the middle and lower class continues to lengthen, the individual in the average classes try to make ends meet, but their opportunities to become of higher status are minimal to none with the rising economic crisis. Considering the elements above, not everyone has got an equal chance to wealth and success; they vary as per their living standards. The media is another institution that worsens the situation of class divide in America, these platforms tend to air out materialistic stuff that people deemed as rich own, a poor person with the aim of also being recognized starts to make purchases of items they cannot afford in an attempt to be noticed, this act will render them much poorer because they tend to exploit the available funds in money-oriented commodities. Furthermore, they blame the poor for their state without incorporating the issue of unequal chances (Crculley).

Wealth Inequality and Solutions

One of the main aspects that contributed to the wealth inequality in America is the denial to recognize the availability of diverse culture, races, and disparities in the social status among its citizens. In an attempt to bring about equal opportunities among all Americans, immigrants, the poor among other underprivileged personal were left out in the American Dream because they could not access equal resources as the Americans did. Economic inequality is mainly experienced among the lower and the middle-class people in the society. Their wealth continues to deteriorate with time due to stagnant wages, minimum wages and poor education as well as other factors. During the implementation of the minimum wage, the case of inflation was not incorporated, and as time passes, the wages are decreasing rather than increasing. For one to meet their living standards, they are things they ought to purchase, but the prices of this items continue to rise in contrast with their depreciating pay thus prompting them to remain in a low class. To solve this problem, the minimum wage needs to be raised so that low-income earners can keep pace with the rising economy and the people with higher wage and better schooling. Another aspect is expanding the welfare benefits, because not all people have equal opportunities in the job market, these individuals should access benefits for the time that they have been hunting for their jobs. If this act is enacted, most persons will not be stagnant in search for employment because the government would encourage employers to offer opportunities so that they would evade payment during their job hunt. Among all these, education is the main issue that could curb inequality. The reason being, an educated person, has got high chances of acquiring well-paying jobs, with the rising of tuition fees most lower-class individuals are left out, and that is why there is need to increase their pay. This will help them to gather for school expenses. The cycle of wealth inequality is mainly contributed by low income, leading to poor education and thus poor jobs which destabilizes the economy thus increasing the gap of wealth inequality among the citizens (Smith).

Upward Mobility and Class Divide

The lack of upward mobility/ class divide in America is mostly influenced by the race and the social status of an individual. People born in poverty, have a high likelihood of becoming poor in adulthood than those in well-off families. This aspect has mostly been experienced by the African Americans who were originally immigrants who started from nothing and are trying to achieve something. Statistics reveal that 42% of blacks born poor stagnate in the same income level as compared to 17% of whites who maintain the same state. Most blacks who manage to middle class face a lot of provocations and have got high chances of going back to the lower class because of the differences in the resources that they acquire as compared to the whites who can access good education, health facilities, employment opportunities, and home ownership. In that, an African American has to work twelve more weeks to get the same pay as whites in a given period. This type of discrimination is what isolates the low-income class from attaining upward mobility in the sense that they either get stuck or move to a lower level. All this is contributed by employment and wage discrimination which puts the blacks in the lower status.

Solutions to Upward Mobility and Class Divide

The blacks also reside in neighborhoods that are poverty-stricken, with poor education and with more female-headed households. Which in turn, the African Americans who are more mobile attempt to help their relatives who are still poor. This act tends to bring about financial strains in their households which diminishes their hopes of closing the gap of racial wealth. The inability to accumulate wealth makes it even more impossible for them to enable their children to achieve the middle-class level.

All these problems can be dealt with, by providing more opportunities for the lower class individuals for them to acquire a stable income and support themselves. Another aspect is by expanding the earned income tax, which helps to bring children out of poverty and assist the poor working class individuals. The tax rates should also be modified to go in line with the income tax so that an individual is charged as per what they are earning not what everyone is paid. Ending residential segregation would play a great deal in improving upward mobility, racial discrimination as per their residence should be eradicated, and wages should be distributed equally among all the races (Powell).


In conclusion, if all these solutions are adhered to, then an environment with equal opportunities would be created among the citizens.

Works Cited

Crculley. "Micro-Solution." (2016). .

Goldie. "Individual Opportunity." (2015). .

Powell, a., John. "Six policies to reduce economic inequality." (n.d.). .

Smith, Remy. "Some Solutions to Economic Inequality." (2015). .

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