Sunday, September 13, 2015

KRISTOF- " U.S.A., Land of Limitations?"


The American Dream: Pick yourself up by your boot straps, make something of yourself, own a home, get a dog, marry a beautiful woman. The white picket fence dream never applied to my family. My mother believed that if I work hard enough, that I will become someone; that I would avoid teen pregnancy and poverty, that I would not struggle financially like she did. However, the reality is that I may never move up a social class. In school, I learned that everyone is unique, everyone has talents, and everyone has equal opportunities. I never thought that my third grade teacher would lie to me. I never thought that I couldn't be a doctor and a ballerina. Mrs.Third grade teacher was protecting my innocence, but also adding a layer of thickness of lies. Unfortunately, in 2015, U.S. citizens are facing one of the largest economic gaps. In the article "U.S.A, Land Of Limitations?" by Nicholas Kristof, the evidence of class gaps and disadvantages is explored. Kristof uses the example of his friend Rick to tell a story of what its like to be raised in poverty and the never-ending struggle to leave. "School might have been an escalator to a better life, for Rick had a terrific mind, but as a boy he had been undiagnosed attention deficit disorder and teachers wrote him off." By  the 10th grade Rick had dropped out of high school. His socioeconomic status of "poor" lead him to a future of poverty. He raised his brother and sisters when his father was too drunk to care. Unfortunately, it is a reality for most children to have to learn how to survive rather then "be the best person they can possibly be". If Rick's father hadn't been an alcoholic, and had he worked to put food on the table, maybe Rick would've gone to school. Maybe he would have gotten a decent education. Maybe Rick would have been in the 4 percent.

Early Education is best way to instill a bright, healthy future. However; there are many limitations.  Kristof explains, “They grow up not in a “land of opportunity” but in the kind of socially ridged hierarchies that our ancestors fled, the kind of society in which your outcome is largely determined by your beginning” (4).  Rick’s future was pre determined by his fathers’ status, and his fathers’ father status, and so on and so forth. Unfortunately no matter how hard I work, I will probably never leave my social class because it is embed into me from my mother. The struggles we faced shaped who I am, and made me a better person. I can never say I was truly in poverty because there was always food on the table. But financial strains were apparent. Kristof’s article was an eye opener for me. I will never stop working my hardest because of one statistic, but I also won’t be surprised that twenty years from now my life is much like my mothers was.


  1. Your blog is great! really well written and it seems like you can truly relate to the article.

  2. I had a lot of the same thoughts as you did. It is not fair how we do not have all have the same chances to succeed and how we may never leave our social class.