10000 Hole In The American Dream Analysis

Good Essays
Throughout American History, there have been countless Americans who have prided themselves on striving for equality and opportunity. But also throughout American History, there have been countless others who have exploited that promise for personal gain. In his 2014 article, "The $236,000 Hole in the American Dream," Dean Starkman explores the concerning economic gap that has formed between the epitome of American racial division, whites and blacks. He introduces the idea of asset accumulation, wealth that is generated over time, and how whites have used it to abuse blacks economically. After examining the problem, he offers solvency for the issue, but reminds the reader that this is not the end, and the effectiveness of his policies will…show more content…
Since the end of the Civil War, whites have economically oppressed blacks through “Government programs that gave white families a leg us…either exclud[ing] or shortchang[ing] African Americans” (Starkman 32). While conventional wisdom suggests that peoples’ wealth should be based on their income, Starkman suggests otherwise. Incomes fluctuate, while assets, which are a more net yield of wealth from even past generations, stay relatively stable. When comparing assets instead of income as wealth, there is a jarring disparity; whites have a $236,000 advantage over blacks, even when adjusted for income levels, and still growing. In essence, assets are the key to wealth in America, as the Shapiro study at the University of Michigan found. Studying black and white families over a 20-year span, the researchers found that even when blacks have the same life advancements as whites (education, employment, inheritance), their asset return rates are far lower (Starkman 33). This is the direct result of the policies that have favored assets for whites, skewing their outcomes. It is problem that cannot be fixed overnight, or even over a year; whites have been accumulating their wealth for hundreds of years. This data is only based off a sample of blacks and whites; it excludes most of the black population, especially the poorest sector, who live in “hyperghettos”(Starkman 33),…show more content…
As a prominent black sociologist who grew up in a hyperghetto himself, Melvin Oliver explains that, “ 'Income feeds your stomach,’…‘But assets change your head’” (Starkman 31). People of Oliver’s background, are mentored by their environment and begin to doubt what they consider possible, including the American Dream. Trends Magazine observed this case in their article, “The Battered American Dream,” mentioning that “…a large percentage of Americans will continue to believe that they do not have the same access to the American Dream…and valuable skills to live well” (“Battered” 8). Even if opportunities are available, if they are not sufficient enough and people stop believing, they might as well not exist. Economic policies must attack the source, asset accumulation, or risk losing the American Dream among the black minority and promoting crime in those
Get Access