The site of Kaneland High School's student news publication.

Kaneland Krier

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The site of Kaneland High School's student news publication.

Kaneland Krier

The site of Kaneland High School's student news publication.

Kaneland Krier

The hypocrisy of the American Dream

What do you think of when you hear the term “American Dream?” 

There are many ways to interpret what the American Dream is. It could be that you can make more money, escape wars in other countries, or even live in peace. 

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the American Dream is “the idea that every citizen of the United States should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative.”

This sounds nice, right? You live in America and are given the chance to change your life. You are told that your voice matters and everyone has the right to live equally. You are told that you have rights to your body, privacy and the right to live. 

When I hear what the American Dream is, I don’t think of all the perks of it. I don’t think about all the good things I have been told since birth. I only think about how huge of a lie it all is. As I grew up in the American educational system, I learned that America is seen as a country with endless opportunities and possibilities. This may be true, but much of what we know is sugar-coated or simply nonexistent.

We learn everyone has an equal opportunity to live the best life possible. But I am afraid that is incredibly incorrect. Yes, you can have a chance to live the best life you can attain, but it depends on what class you are born into and your identity. 

For example, a poll by SPARCC stated that 74% believe that “most poor people work hard but cannot work their way out of poverty because they do not have access to the opportunities that would enable them to do so.”

Hard work is a massive factor in your success in America. Without hard work, you can’t expect to get anywhere. But even though you may work hard, you are not guaranteed rewards.

Many people in poverty or lower classes can never obtain the success that higher classes are given. Even if you are born into poverty and wish to dominate the workplace, you have to work harder than, let’s say, a person born into the upper class. The upper class is given more opportunities than anyone. Suppose you are in any category below the elite. In that case, you must work harder because you are not given as many opportunities. But you must work harder if you fall into uncontrollable factors such as gender, race, and sexual orientation. 

It has been a long-term fight for civil rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and women’s rights. All of these should both be seen as fundamental human rights. However, in America, that is seen as something to be debatable. Suppose you try to excel in the workplace as a woman or someone of color: The workplace and society, in general, have been designed for your failure. 

It’s like an algorithm of sorts. The design was meant to weed out the weak from the strongest. It has been human nature to think of anyone other than a white male as the superior being. Frankly, this is incorrect, but it is useless to fight against this ideology when so many believe in it. But when it comes to the algorithm of the American Dream, if you are what this ideology states, you are already built for success. 

If you are not favored in the algorithm, then tough luck. You should’ve just tried harder. At least, that is what the American Dream says. I find this whole algorithm to be unjust and hypocritical.

There is no way to succeed in achieving the American Dream if you were set up for failure from birth. If you are on the poverty line, there is little chance of reaching success. If you are a woman, you will have to try harder than any male and face many double standards and insults for wanting to be stronger. If you are a person of color, you will always face racial troubles and unjust stereotypes. 

No matter what, we are going to struggle. 

As stated earlier, the American Dream is the idea that every citizen of the United States has an equal opportunity to reach success. 

All that the American Dream is exactly what it is called. A dream. 

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About the Contributor
Sophie Ponce de Leon
Sophie Ponce de Leon, Co-Editor-in- Chief of Print and Co-Copyeditor
Name: Sophie Ponce de Leon   Position: Co-Editor-in-Chief of Print and Co-Copy Editor   Graduation year: 2025   A few sentences about me: I love politics and will definitely always say a woman would make the best president. I love reading, writing, eating and sleeping. Also, I’m a hopeless romantic so… hit me up please.   My favorite…   Movie: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Show: Lucifer Animal: Red fox Hobby: Crying Book: Once upon a broken heart by Stephanie Garber Food: French fries Song: I wish I was the moon by Neko Case Band / Artist: Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, and Fiona Apple