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Devin Fisher

Comp 1213

The American Dream

Summer 2017

I Had a Dream

Four simple words encouraged change, inspired action, instilled hope, and transformed

the nation. Dr. Martin Luther King Juniors four simple words, I have a dream, have

spanned generations and bridged cultural divides (King). These four simple words may have

done so much good, but do they still ring true? Has our changed nation given a new meaning to

these simple, yet meaningful words? Have we been diminished to a generation who would say,

I had a dream? The President of the United States, Donald Trump, is now posing a similar

platform as Dr. King did all those years ago: Make America Great Again. As we drift away from

the core values this country was built on, our great nation has fallen behind in the areas of race

and entitlement.

The sixties were a time of great division in many things including gender, class, and,

most importantly, race. Not only was segregation the biggest gap in our society at this time, but it

also led to some of the most pivotal historical events in our nations history. African Americans

also unfortunately saw a lot of violence during this period simply because of the color of their

skin. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired a nation through peace. He gave Americans a vision of the

future and what our country could be like. We are that future. Have we lived up to his dream?

Are we making America great again?

In a lot of ways, it is easy to see how our nation has become very accepting of stereotypes

from the past. In 2008, our countrys first African American President was elected. This would
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have never been imagined in any other generation and it is an example of how accepting of our

differences our country has become. The leap from slavery to presidency was immense, just as it

was in any other forbidden jobs held by a person of color. One would think after our countrys

ability to overcome the gap of race that we would be living the dream Martin Luther King Jr.

was referring to, but this isnt the case. It would go against our nature not to make assumptions

about others and, unfortunately, this has contributed to a lot of the stereotypes against African

Americans today.

The media is all around us and has a tremendous impact on the way people see and

comprehend people and stories. The shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri is a

powerful example of stereotypes and the role the media has played in filtering the story the

public is told. According to The New York Times, in August of 2014, Michael Brown, an

unarmed black teenager, was shot and killedby Darren Wilson, a white police officer

(Buchanan et Al.). In the Ferguson case, there are two ways of seeing the situation. One point of

view is that the white police officer was racial profiling a young black male. While the other

outlook believes that the young black male was automatically up to no good. Either story one

choses to believe is based upon a stereotype of race. This has led to more frequent and recent

riots and outbreaks in our very own country (Buchanan et al.). Havent we gotten past the issue

of race? Stereotypes are very much alive in the American Society and by looking at the media

updates and groups like Black Lives Matter; it makes me wonder if they will ever go away.

We have also become a nation home to an entitled generation. For example, it became

evident that the idea of a free or more affordable college education was quite popular in the last

presidential race. Demands from protesters include, free public college, cancelation of student

debt, and a fifteen dollar an hour minimum wage for people who work on the
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campus(FoxBusinessNetwork). Leaders and supporters of this movement are open about

sourcing their funds from the top one percent earners in the country. The problem with this is

even that wouldnt be enough. Ultimately, the taxpayers who work hard for their own money,

including both the one percent and the ninety nine percent, would bear the burden of other

peoples schooling. Why are we no longer saying, I want to pay for my own college. I want to

work hard. I want my education to mean something and not just be a thing everyone has and

takes for granted. The new trend of thinking is that college is the only way to be successful. In

actuality, it is not the only route to success and having it available as a free option will only

encourage people to take something they have in no way earned, yet think they have the right to

attain. I have seen this in other encounters as well.

Earlier this year on May 21st, a large group of students graduating from Notre Dame

walked out of the graduation ceremony in protest just before Vice President Mike Pence began

his address. Many can argue that they were using their constitutional right of freedom of speech

and protest. The disappointing thing about this is that they used the First Amendment as an

excuse to be blatantly disrespectful to another human being simply because they did not agree

with what they had to say. Internet sensation and cowboy Chad Prather bashed the students on

his public Facebook page. In his post he starts out by calling out employers saying,

Employersgo find the video of the college grads at Notre Dame walking out on vice

presidents commencement speech. Remember their faces and dont make the mistake of hiring

them (). These students may be educated and have a degree however, that alone does not make

them employable. Prather continues with, as a boss, you will do and say things they disagree

with and their feelings will be hurt. This is how they react to disappointment(Prather) This act

alone shows the lack of discipline and respect for opposing opinions and demonstrates the fact
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that this generation has never been held accountable with consequences from their


Donald Trump has lit the flame and inspired us all to make America as great as it once

was. The progress of our nation has led us to a society where much is now accepted that once

was not. With this acceptance, though, has come separation and entitlement. The only way to

change this never-ending problem of arrogance is to get over our own egos and go back to four

simple words. Our nation needs hope and now has leaders to remind us of the core beliefs that

this country was built on: hard work, freedom and equality. It is crucial that our generation does

not alter the nations goal of I have a dream to I had a dream.

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Works Cited

Buchanan, Larry, et al. "What Happened in Ferguson?" The New York Times. The New York

Times, 12 Aug. 2014. Web. 20 July. 2017.

FoxBusinessNetwork. Students Want Top Earners to Pay Their Tuition. YouTube. YouTube, 13

Nov. 2015. Web. 24 July 2017.

King, Martin L,. Jr. "Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream Speech August 28 1963." American

History from Revolution to Reconstruction and Beyond. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 July. 2017

Prather, Chad. Employers...go find the video of the college grads at Notre Dame walking out on

the vice president's commencement speech. Remember their faces and don't make the

mistake of hiring them. As a boss you will do and say things they disagree with and their

feelings will be hurt. This is how they respond to disappointment and hurt feelings. I have

a strong feeling they will be experiencing a lot of both in the years to come. 21 May

2017. 11:52 a.m. Facebook post.

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