This I Believe

Tommy - Dunn, North Carolina
Entered on November 11, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: equality

Equality and The American Dream

I believe in the idea of equality. Notice that I believe in the idea of equality, not the actual thing. This isn’t because actual equality isn’t worth believing in, but simply because it doesn’t really exist. It is perhaps the cornerstone belief that the “American Dream” concept is built on, that every person is equal regardless of their background. This idea, while simple in its makeup is far more complex when practiced in reality. The reality is that everyone is not viewed equally in today’s society, with all it’s bias. Almost anything can influence how you are perceived in the world. Are you rich or poor? Are you educated or not? These adjectives that describe us also define us in a deeper way than we would probably care for. When any one of us applies for a job, inquires about a rental apartment, or tries to get a line of credit we are immediately subjected to the kind of bias that is reducing the reality of equality to a simple idea. Let me explain. As soon as you apply for that rental property, the agent might asses you based on what she immediately sees. Are you of an ethnicity that would “mesh” well with the community in which you want to live? Perhaps that person might have a stereotype in their head about the “kind” of person you are, based on your race or educational level. Or perhaps you want to get that mortgage from the bank to buy your first house. In the world where everyone is equal, anyone should have a fair chance at that loan. The fact is, however, that the job you hold will have an impact on the outcome of the bank’s decision. For instance, if you are a sales rep. for a big sales firm and you make $40,000 a year, you might get a loan that a teacher with the same salary wouldn’t get based on your potential future earnings of the job you hold. I ask, is that fair? Is that equality? Will it ever change? While the answers to theses questions elude me at this time, I do hope that others will join me in my belief of the idea of equality, and in doing so might help bring this simple idea into the real world. Maybe then the “American Dream” can become the “American Reality.”