The Dream Not Seen by All
There I was in a room among 600 strangers from all over New England. Every person seemed to have a distinct uniqueness that set him or her aside from the rest. We were all joined together in Nashua, New Hampshire for Trio days. Trio programs were established in the mid-1900’s to help people with financial needs, mainly with education. Everyone was antsy from the day’s activities, but began to settle into the ballroom where the rally was to take place. I had no clue what a rally included, but I was eager to participate.
After a few speakers, a man came to the stage. He told us to get out of our seats and move to the rectangular dance floor and stand along the line of carpet and wood floor. He began by talking about the American dream and what it meant to be an equal part of America. He told us to take a step forward if the question he asked pertained to us. He began by saying; “Take a step forward if you were born in the United States.” About a hundred of the students did not move. I did not think that was fair because earlier that day I had met a knowledgeable boy who came from Haiti. He had a great personality and it was not fair that because he wasn’t completely “American”, it would put him at a great disadvantage. Already it was obvious that achieving the American dream was not going to be equal. Then he asked more including, “Take a step forward if you are white,” “Take a step forward if you are a male,” “Take a step forward if your parents attended college,” “Take a step forward if your parents were born in the United States,” “Take a step forward for each of your parents that wore a suit to work today,” “Take a step forward for each of your parents that went to college.” More questions were asked, with the same idea of being a part of the American dream. Then he stopped speaking and told us to look around. Everyone was scattered, people of different ethnicities were farther back than the white people. I was in the middle, only achieving half the equality of the American dream. When I thought that it couldn’t be more unequal, the speaker had more to add to the inequality of America.
The speaker began by saying, “Now you are at a disadvantage of the equality of the American Dream if these qualities pertain to you. Take a step backward if you are a person of color, Take a step backward for each parent that did not go to college, Take a step backward if your first language is not English, Take a step backward if you are African American, Take a step backward for each parent that did not go to work in a business suit today, Take a step backward if your parents came from another country.” It was easy to see that white people have an extremely better advantage over any person of color. It was mostly white people closer to the center of the ballroom dance floor, and people of color on the carpet. I was where I started, on the edge of the dance floor and the carpet; I represented a slightly disadvantaged white. The gap between black and white was huge. This angered me because the Haitian-American boy seemed to have so much potential, but is his color and nationality going to hold him back?
The lack of trust we put into the different cultures within our nation leads to the inequalities in our society. These inequalities lead many people not to enjoy the “American Dream,” that has been emphasized since the New World’s coming. Trio programs are here to try to give opportunities to youth who otherwise would have no guidance. “All of us do not have equal talents, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to express our talents,” a quote by John F. Kennedy, expresses the need to value everyone in America equally. However, the prejudice that has plagued our country since our creation still falters equal opportunity among the youth of our nation based on skin color. Some way, some how, the people of America need to come together and create equal unity to make one part of the multifaceted American Dream true and rid of the instilled prejudice we hold in our minds.
The American Dream