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10/23/2012

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Amethyst  Ralph

.” In Brownstein’s article he seemed to try to stay neutral on whether or not he believed in the American dream. From what I read from the article it seems his belief in the American dream seems to be fading. Brownstein states directly, “But to a greater extent than our self-image allows, success in America is now a matter of choosing the right parents. As Sawhill and two colleagues have calculated, nearly two-thirds of children born to parents in the bottom fifth of income remain stuck in the lowest two-fifths as adults; by contrast, more than three-fifths of children born into families in the top fifth wind up in the top two-fifths.” He basically is stating that what class your parents are in is directly dependent on whether you will be able to acquire their American dream. Indirectly he is saying that due to what our economy is and what social status you are born into there is no hope. He is saying there is no such thing as the American dream and parents need to focus on the reality we are living in. Brownstein’s title says “The American Dream Deferred,” Which basically states that the American dream is on hold until further noticed. If there is an American dream it is on hold for now. This title can come from the economy’s downturn since the seventies. The dream has been on holds for years now and it seems to have not changed. The title relates directly to what Brownstein is talking about. During WWII the dream seemed to be possible and many people believed that they could work and make their way up the ladder. Now realities have sunken and in and most people do not see that as achievable anymore. Brownstein says that European countries children have a better chance of making it to the top than children in the United States; I do find this statement very alarming. In a nation that claims this is the land of freedom and opportunity and yet people do not have an opportunity if they are not born into a predominant class. Europe is now looking like the land of opportunity since the children actually have a chance when they are born. I just find this statement scary due to what the economy is and what it will be in the years to come. If this continues I do not think anyone can have the American dream. In my case I do believe I will be able to achieve this dream with much blood, sweat, and tears. My father has a middle school education and I am in college. I get great grades and I am already showing that I am not a statistic. I am scared about being able to pay for a higher education but in my experience I do see this attainable. I do see myself having a better life than my father, but I want to be able to give him a better life as well. He has given me more opportunities than imaginable and I can see it happening. Brownstein’s definition about the American dream is, “living better than your parents did.” I do believe that this can still be attained; it just means the generation has to work ten times harder to get it. The generation has been faced with numerous roadblocks, and given an unfortunate economy. If the generation wants a better life, they are going to have to fight for it. It will not be easy to attain this dream, but I think it will not be impossible.


Fabiola Agustin

I believe Ronald Brownstein’s argument in his article, “A Dream Deferred,” is that the working class does not resent the middle and upper class yet because they still believe in the American Dream. The American Dream, according to Brownstein, means that “in every generation, children will live better than their parents did.” In the article, Brownstein says, “College is far easier to start than to finish, and children whose parents earned a degree are now five times as likely to graduate as children whose parents did not” It seems to me that Brownstein is implying that the American Dream will soon be nonexistent to the working class because it is hopeless for them to progress any further. So, he is warning us about the friction he thinks it will cause between the working class and the rest of the country. Furthermore, I think that by saying the working class might resent the middle and upper class he is also implying that the working class will stop trying to use their skill and determination to get ahead, and instead, begin blaming others. Considering the economy and its effects such as recent tuition increases for higher education, which would make it difficult for students from low-income families to receive higher education, I understand his concern. But like Amethyst Ralph wrote in his blog, Brownstein is saying there is no hope for the people of the working class, and just like him, I disagree. I think the working class believes in the American Dream because they are hard workers driven by ambition. By this, I mean that they take responsibility for their own success and failures and probably find the middle and upper class irrelevant to their struggle for the American Dream. But when Brownstein says, “Most also think that their own efforts, not events beyond their control, will determine their success,” I wonder if Brownstein is also implying that the middle and upper class have something to be blamed for, or is it just that he thinks the working class’ attitudes would change from hope to senseless blame out of desperation. Either way, the working class will never lose sight of the American Dream. Even if achieving the Dream is hard, and the process is slow, even little progress is a success. I come from a working class family, and like Amethyst Ralph, I am also scared about being able to pay for higher education, but as the first generation to go to college, I consider myself part of the American Dream. Already, I have progressed further than my family’s last generation, and I still have so much more to accomplish. Others such as me probably know that the Dream does not mean to leap from rags to riches, but to move forward from our past generations, and hopefully inspire our future generations.

Samuel Sutton

Ronald Brownstein's article seems to contain positive, negative, and neutral views. The article's neutrality stems from the author's use of language. He evenly distributes his remarks without favoring either a positive or negative view of what we know as the "American dream." Some might say that Brownstein's view of the American dream is negative because he is surprised to discover people from the working class who do not resent the affluent. However, I believe he is surprised by this due to the majority of the people who one hears talk about the affluent and rich being those who complain about them. When this occurs multiple times, one becomes accustomed to hearing only a negative type of view from one class toward another class of people. As a result, hearing a positive view of the affluent from the working class would naturally be shocking to an individual who had become used to only hearing negative statements from that class on this subject. Therefore, I do not believe that Brownstein's surprise suggests that he has a negative view of the American dream. The positive aspect of his article comes from the section describing the fact that many working class families still believe in the American dream and the chance for their children to have better lives than they had. This shows that there are those who, despite difficult financial times, governmental mistrust, and a view of every individual looking out for oneself, are living in this country who have hope in one of the foundations of this nation. These individuals still hope and dream for the future. Ironically, the majority of these individuals are immigrants from other countries. Those who hold the negative views are Caucasians born in the United States. However, there is also a negative aspect at the end of the article. This comes in the form of a warning where Brownstein warns that there is still a high amount of division between the affluent and the working class. He also warns that certain financial events may cause further division between the two classes of people. Such events could prove disastrous for the country.

Maddy Sukoru

I agree with Ronald Brownsteins article. The American dream is more of a myth than a dream. In past generations it was possible for children to rise up and surpass the legacies of their parents. It was possible to graduate from high school and secure a well paying job at a manufacturing plant that allowed you to provide for your family adequately. College was seen as extra, a high school diploma was the norm for most Americans. That is not the case today. The world we live in now, is but a shadow of the past. The manufacturing jobs that guaranteed the American dream have all been outsourced to developing countries. A college education is essential in today’s society. The children who are born today are born into a highly competitive world with an abundance of minimum wage jobs and very few high paying ones. A college diploma is not enough to get by the competition is so stiff that one must go beyond a basic a graduate’s degree and pursue more education. It was once said that the key to upwards mobility is hard work and determination. That was the slogan many politicians used to gain their way into office that was our nation’s motto. In the harsh reality we live in, hard work and determination don't guarantee anything. It is extremely difficult for some one to jump social classes due to the way our nation is structured. We see the middle class slowly depleting and merging with the working class. Do not count on the American Dream count on your self.

Javier Flores

In Ronald Brownstein's artictle, “A Dream Deferred,” he argues that the fact that there is not a huge tension between the working class and the middle or upper class is because many of these individuals in the working class till believe in the notion that anyone with enough skills and determination can reach the top, in other words the fuel behind the American Dream. Brownstein explains the already functioning idea behind the American Dream as that “in [which] every generation, children will live better than their parents did.” In my opinion this is what most immigrant family strive and believe in when coming to the United States, but as great as this sounds, Brownstein quickly rebuttals this idea by saying that now the American Dream is not that just hard work and determination will pay off alone, but that it is “a matter of choosing the right parents.” I personally see this as Brownstein insinuating that the old standard of the American Dream have begun to fade away and now is being replaced by a new idea. To support this he includes a statistic, stating that in the United States “nearly two-thirds of children born to parents in the bottom fifth of income remain stuck in the lowest two-fifths as adults; by contrast, more than three-fifths of children born into families in the top fifth wind up in the top two-fifths.” This can then be analyzed to show that no matter how determined one is and how hard they are willing to work to get to the top, if they were born in the bottom two-fifths, there is a two-third possibility that they will stay in that bottom fifth of income as well. But, I believe that this is not something that most Americans will want to be part of. I personally do not see myself being another statistic to this interpretation of the American Dream. With that, similar to Fabiola Agustin, I come from a working family and share her, along with Amethyst Ralph, fear of how I will pay for my higher education, but as the first generation in all my family to go to college, I believe that the old notion of the American Dream is still attainable. One has to first be able to accept that this is not something that will happen overnight, or that in fact will be easy to achieve, as Fabiola Agustin said, “...to leap from rags to riches....” But, to me the idea that I was strong enough to overcome an obstacle and achieve my goal, is something that I surely look forward to obtaining, and is possibly the key factor that will keep my drive alive so that I fulfill my dream. The American Dream will not be a walk in the park, but with enough work and enthusiasm it is something that can be achieved.

Pablo Fuentes

In “A Dream Deferred,” Ronald Brownstein argues that society has been loosing faith in the American Dream. He begins the article on how the American Dream began back in the twenties. He talks about Robert and Helen Lynd and their studies on American society. Brownstein states that the Lynds were surprised because they saw that although the gap was widening between the lower and middle/upper classes, there was no hostility from those of the lower class to those of the middle and upper classes. In contrast, the lower class believed that each person had a chance to move up and that it depended on the individual’s responsibility and determination to move up. Brownstein then on goes on to state that as the years have gone by the faith in the American Dream has gone down due to the reality that the gap between the lower class and the middle/upper classes has widened. Then, Brownstein goes on to mention several statistics stating that most lower class Americans will remain in the same state as their parents and the most upper class Americans will remain in the same state as their parents. He also gives a statistic that those people, whose parents went to college, have five times the chance to graduate and get a degree when compared to the first generation college students. Yet despite these statistics, Brownstein suggests that most people in America still hold on to the hope of an American Dream. I agree with Brownstein’s view of the American Dream. The reality is that the gap between to socio-economic classes is widening, which means that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Due to this modern trend, it has become harder to pursue the American Dream that was established by the Lynds. I believe that, although harder attain the American Dream, a typical still can achieve the American Dream. It is possible to take responsibility for one’s own actions and assume his or her own responsibility to have a better life than that of the parent’s lives. As Brownstein mentioned, “…a significant majority of Americans said they believe “the American Dream is still possible and achievable for … people like you.” Many people still believe in the American Dream and there have been countless examples of normal people from the lower working class to rise up the socio-economic ladder to become something of themselves and actually make a difference. All it takes is commitment, determination, and the effort to achieve the goals that anyone has planned to accomplish. Although the Dream has become harder to reach, it is still conceivable.

Dunia Valladares

In this article Bowstein is implying that the American dream no longer exists. When I was reading this article it seemed that Bowstein did not choose a side, but what he states and what is implied are different. When Bowstein states “So far, these new trends haven’t shattered the public’s belief that success is earned, not inherited.” This statement implies that Bowstein believes that Americans having been living by the misconception that success is earned. Bowstein is basically stating that if you are from the working class then the American dream is not attainable to those individuals.

Carlos Caudillo

Ronald Brownstein’s argues in his article “A Dream Referred,” that today’s generations have no resentment between the working class and the upper class, especially in America. The reason being is that people are always trying to better than themselves. That’s the American dream to them. Brownstein wrote, “... because Americans are more likely to believe that anyone with enough skill and determination can reach the top.” He is well aware that Americans strive to be better than the last generation because of their determination, and we can see that with the children. They go to college and obtain a diploma, which was something there parents didn’t receive. Yes, earning just a college diploma isn’t enough today, but we can see that there are many who continue further with their education. They not only want to make their families proud, but also prove to themselves that they can be better than others expected from them. That, I believe, is why education is a choice. Brownstein also wrote, “Nearly three-fifths of Hispanics and African-Americans, and about two-fifths of Asian-Americans, said last year that they believe their children will enjoy greater opportunities.” Many Hispanics and African-Americans believe their children will enjoy the greater opportunities because they are making the choice to do so. They know the importance of being successful. They also know that they want to be happy and without worries. As for the others, “[the] more than two-fifths of whites [who] fear their children would have fewer opportunities,” are not making the right choice. Sure, I understand that their are more racial differences out there, but ultimately we are all still people and we have the same opportunities as the next person. So, as for the American dream that Brownstein talks about, it still exists but there are more people making the choice not to strive for it.

Viviana Rodriguez

In Ronald Brownstein's article "A Dream Referred" he describes the american dream as "children will live better than their parents did, in every generation". I do expect this to be true for me and possibly my brother i can't speak for him but with his lack of determination i think he'll just remain in working class and be ok with that. I do feel as if the American Dream will become a reality for me because i have seen my family struggle and learning from their mistakes, i am doing my best to create a life for myself that i will be very content with. I am already half way there being the fisrt in my family to attend college. Yes i still believe that the American Dream as Brownstein explained it is still viable. I feel that all parents want the best for their children and want them to have what they didn't. Furthering ones education is one way in doing so and for the school year of 2013-2014 there has been the most CSU applications ever submitted. Everyone is working hard, competing for that life they have always dreamt of having. Some people might reach and others wont it all depends on how much effort someone contributes.

Tyler Plass

In response to the fourth question, Brownstein's definition of the American Dream is pretty vague. It's clear from the rest of the essay that he uses the term 'better' to describe more wealthy, but I felt he also implied that a 'better' life would be one with less hardship. In modern America, there is a point where more wealth won't diminish your hardship because you can already afford all of your basics. In fact, it could be argued that too much wealth leaves a potential for existential dread that poorer folks don't even have time to contemplate.

I would like to define a 'better' life as one where the people around me are more intelligible. This could pose an issue because I always thought joining a conversation had to do with listening to other peoples opinions about a topic and providing my own, but I guess a series of rants responding to a set of questions is now considered a conversation. I can't wait until the next time I'm chillin' with my friends and we take turns giving answers to the set of question's we agreed upon without ever referencing any of my friends points, much as I'm doing right now in this response.

Actually, I am going to reference the previous responses. Maybe it's just terrible site design that omits line breaks, but differentiating paragraphs can really make a wall of text look like something intelligible.

Now to get meta and answer the final part of question 4. Is the American Dream, as Brownstein defines it, still viable? No. How I decided to interpret his words, Brownstein's definition is un-intelligible. We would need a clear definition of something to show if it is viable or not.

God, that was almost as bad as the navigation on this website.

Josephine Gutierrez

America is the place to live the American Dream if you work hard enough to get there. Its seems the article “A Dream Deffered” is hopeful that people of different social class would not be trouble of where others are at in the social class. Kids who go to school in poor communities learn more instructional skills for the work force than kids who go to school in better of communities and learn critical thinking skills for running a company or starting a business. Economic status has a lot to do with where ones kids will be socially, if parents have a college degree it is more likely they will move one step higher than their parents. But these findings should not discourage anyone, many poor kids have achieved higher education; sports is not a last resort. Americans have done really well in respecting one another and if one is not happy with their job they can go back to school, be successful and enjoy a better standard of living. Yet still today many college graduates are having a hard time obtaining a job even with a degree. Those who have student loans are in debt and are struggling to repay their loans when they do not have a good steady job. Referring to what Browstein wrote about choosing parents, no one has chosen who mom and dad are. Majority of people are not born into wealth but poverty or middle class. Society will be better as the market goes up and more college graduates are employed, these two factors will encourage more people to get a degree and earn a better paying job. Poorer communities are creating new programs to help troubled youths to choose education over drugs, sports over gangs, and for once work to become what they want to be in life and an important contribution to society.

Blair Paez

I agree with the stance Ronald Brownstein takes on his opinion of the “American Dream” in his article “A Dream Deferred”. In the United States, the belief that is consistently perpetuated through the generations is that hard work ultimately leads to success. This belief can be seen in every facet of American culture. For example, children who are placed in competitive sports at a young age learn that those who come in first place do so because they are more talented and skilled then the rest. This ultimately exemplifies the American belief that hard works leads to success whether it be in a competition or in wealth. Thus in the United States, the belief that success is directly correlated to skill leads Americans to accept that the reason people are poor is because of a lack of effort. This can be shown through the old saying that the United States is the land of opportunity, and those that try will obviously find the “American Dream” with some hard work and elbow grease. Though, the truth may no longer be that this is the land of milk and honey, but rather is one that has an increasing gab between those that have and those that have not. The boundary between the working class and the middle to upper class is becoming more and more defined. The United States is in a state of dissonance where most of us are buying into the belief we have the greatest upward mobility, when in reality those in Europe are more likely to achieve upward mobility than those in America. Also, the belief that college is the gateway to a better life seems to be adding to the greater inequality than solving it. It has created a cycle of those who have parents with college degrees are five time more likely to graduate than those whose parents do not. Thus, there is an inequality where those that have money are afforded the opportunity to receive an education. This education, in turn, leads to the likelihood of acquiring a job that pays well. Whereas, on the other side of the spectrum, those that come from a family that have not been afforded those same opportunities, often times due to lack of resources, are infinitely less likely to receive the education necessary for upward mobility. Generation after generation this cycle repeats where wealth and the knowledge need to acquire it stay in the upper class, and the bottom class are often times not given the same opportunities and resources that are needed to break those class barriers. Thus, though the United States stands for beautiful values of hard work and success, it seems we have fallen short of turning these values into reality in our society.

Serene Taylor

1. Based off of Brownstein’s article, “A Dream Deffered,” it does not appear that he believes in the American dream as much as all of America used to. He is in the same mindset as everyone else, and wants to get by comfortably and without struggle. He shows this by telling us that “This should worry people already at the top as well as Americans who hope to join them and are starting to doubt if they can.” He then later states that if children are born to parents in the lower half of the economic status, then it is not likely that they will overcome the situation of debt. “… Success in America is now a matter of choosing the right parents.”
2. “A Dream Deffered” means that what was once considered the ‘American Dream,’ is now put on hold. What was thought of as living comfortably in a single family home with a car, husband having a nice job, and wife staying at home with the two children, has disappeared because of the way the American society is today. When Brownstein used this title, it made the readers question their own American Dream. ‘Is it deferred,’ ‘am I really not living the life I thought that I would be living?’ ‘Wow! I am a struggling citizen in the United States, where did the dream go?’ These are all questions readers ask themselves when looking at the clever title Brownstein chose for this article. This title has everything to do with the content in the article, because it talks about how as time went on in America and different things began to advance, that the American Dream was put on hold because everyone sacrificed something they did not need to, for a better advantage in life.
3. When I read this article and learned that most European countries “have a better chance of reaching the top than in the United States,” it did not surprise me. Based off of the news and what is going on in the world today, other countries--especially in Europe-- live comfortably. Unlike America, they actually are more wise with their spending and purchase what they need and a little of what they want, as opposed to the opposite here in the United States. In the U.S. people tend to use the “get rich quick” tactic, and that is where the trouble begins. Of course that can work in some cases, but it is not likely; therefore, American citizens tend to get themselves into unnecessary debt.
4. Based off of my own family, I do believe that I will be able to obtain the American Dream; however, my definition of the American Dream in today’s society is slightly different from the past. My American Dream is to have a fairly equal partnership with my husband. We both work a nine to five at our dream jobs and come home to our two kids. We will make dinner together and vacation with the whole family; living a blissful, stress free lifestyle. Essentially, I would like to live a comfortable life, in a reasonably sized single-family home, with a spacious back yard for our dog to run in. Based off of Brownstein’s article, the American Dream is still viable. However, this success does not come to a person automatically. Like everything in life, working hard equals tremendous benefits for the future. The American Dream is still obtainable for me, because I learn from my parents mistakes. If more people did this, and did not have the “get rich quick” mindset and had more of the tortoise mindset from the “Tortoise and the Hare,” then people in America would have much more of a viable future in the American Dream.

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