Is the American Dream Worth it?

An excerpt from Mychal Denzel Smith’s book Stakes Is High: Life After the American Dream (2020).

I am not, obviously, the first person to ever poke holes in the idea that is the American Dream, but no matter how many times you have heard it before, no matter how many times you have heard it critiqued, I believe it bears repeating: the American Dream is bullshit. And it’s not bullshit so much because of its relative unlikelihood, but because it rests on the very idea that inequality is natural and good. You can, in America, come from nothing and gain everything—a fantastic idea if you think it is at all just that there would be people who have nothing. The Dream is premised on the idea that someone, somewhere, will always have so little that they must do more, must sacrifice their time, their body, their values, their self in order to achieve, in order to have more. And more is not always more, sometimes more is simply the basic means of survival. Most of the time.

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