The Oxford dictionary defines ‘The American Dream’ as: the ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative.
Many people go right to the part about “hard work” and completely skip the part about “equal opportunity”. Equal opportunity is about treating people without discrimination. To think that there is not much discrimination in this country is to remain blind. To acknowledge there is much discrimination and to not speak out about it is a violation of who we should be as human beings.
There are many who believe the reality they know is the same reality for everyone, everywhere across the United States. This is just not the case. Your reality as a white Christian is much different from others who are not, especially when you live in a country dominated by white Christians.
There is often a false notion where people believe they “made it” all on their own. They forget about that family member who lent them money, that employer who took a chance on them, the tuition their parents paid for, their easy access to books and technology, the car given to them by their parents in order to get to work or school, or that they never had to worry about where their next meal would come from. We often think we have it so difficult when in comparison to others, we've been given much opportunity.
There is a belief that giving opportunities means giving people an easy pass. I guarantee that there is no easy pass in life. Everyone pays for their existence in this world. It will take hard work, determination and initiative to achieve ‘The American Dream’ so why must we make it more difficult for people? Why do we resist helping our fellow human being in achieving this? Why do we think that someone else’s success will hinder our own?
Coast and Interior. Urban and rural. North and South. Blue collar and white collar. All of us live in a different reality. Our different realities contribute to our own uniqueness and the greatness of our country.
We must acknowledge others’ reality, even if we are not able to experience it or fully understand it. Knowing that our reality is not the only reality is the first step in finding compassion for our fellow human.