Stuck in the Class You Were Born in

Stephen Cruz is a Mexican man trying to get ahead in the business world, but slowly realizes that his minority social class is clearly a disadvantage to a successful climb up the corporate ladder. For this, the American dream is a figment of his imagination. In the oral history “Studs Terkel” by Stephen Cruz, he comes to question his own values and the meaning of success in the world of corporate America; however, The American dream may have been intended for everyone but the reality is; it is not.

In America it has only become harder to read a person’s status because of the clothes they wear, the cars they drive, the votes they cast, the god they worship, and by the color of their skin. Social class is an obstacle that blocks the success of unpopular class types that do not meet the traditional class requirements. While most people refuse to acknowledge social class, it is still a big part of America because there are still upper class and lower class. For example, “The American dream is getting more elusive. The dream is being governed by a few people’s notion of what the dream is” (Terkel 357).

Although America continues to promote higher education to increase our knowledge and advance our economic status, a newspaper article argues the importance of college saying; “Clearly, a degree from a four-year college makes even more of a difference today than it once did” (Scott and Leonhardt par 63). Nevertheless, Cruz believed that education does not play an important role in the successful pursuit of the American dream. “The American dream, I see now, is governed not by education, opportunity, and hard work, but by power and fear” (Terkel 356).

Both selections make this clear despite all the hard work and merits a person may have it is incredibly difficult to get out of the class you were born into. There may be success stories we hear about from people we may know, the media, or newspaper articles we read that give us a positive spin on the likelihood of economic mobility which seems to be less attainable than most Americans would like to accept; but the fact is essentially the American dream is only for a certain class of American people.

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Stuck in the Class You Were Born in. (2018, Jun 18). Retrieved from