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american nightmare

american nightmare - 1 Butler Emily Butler Professor...

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1 Butler Emily Butler Professor Jewusiak English 101 21 October 2010 America, the land of Inequality If one were to describe America they would probably use words such as freedom, equality, or liberty. America was founded on these terms. Many people have come to America because of these promises. However, that is all they are: just words. These terms are not put in place throughout the country and are restricted to certain groups of citizens. Although America was founded on the idea of equality and freedom, certain minorities still experience discrimination because of race, class, or sexuality, and are denied the founding American values that our country has promised to distribute to all of it’s citizens. Inequality is present between classes of citizens. This is described in Jean Anyon’s essay, “Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work.” She uses education to explain how students of different social classes are not treated equally. For example, the working class and middle class schools receive a poorer education than the higher-class schools. Through her observations she recorded that the lowest class school focuses mainly on following the right steps. For example, Anyon describes a classroom of the lower-class school where the teacher was demonstrating how to solve a problem and she said, “Do it this way or it’s wrong” (174). They learn that if they do not follow a specific set of rules the answer is wrong, leaving no room for independent learning or solving a problem multiple ways. The middle class school focuses only on getting the right answer rather than using creativity to solve a problem. The upper class
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2 schools use creativity, intelligence, and independence to solve a problem, causing them to be more skilled than the lower social classes. This structure of education causes people to stay in the social class that they grew up in based on the skills that they learn. They will never be able to break free from their families’ class. It is evident that inequality exists between social classes because the higher-class receives a greater education, resulting in a better future than the lower class. In addition to social class, inequality is experienced between people of a different race. Jonathan Kozal describes this through his piece “Still Separate, Still Unequal.” He uses education to prove his point as well, saying that although people have fought to end segregation in schools throughout history, it had never ended because barely any schools actually have diversity. He explains that schools around the country that have integrated, whether by law or by force, have become segregated again (Kozal 220). He observed multiple schools and found that many of the schools had hardly any white students and mostly black or Hispanic children.
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