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EXPLANATION AND ASSIGNMENT - Essay Example

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The American Dream is a concept familiar to us all, but somehow unique to each and every one of us. It is a nebulous idea at best. Some define it as a good job and a nice house. Others define it as their children doing better than the previous generation did…
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EXPLANATION AND ASSIGNMENT
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Download file to see previous pages There is often an expectation that you will ‘follow in the footsteps’ of the family’s most successful members. Along with this pressure, there is also the pressure to accept help from your family and their associates. One can be left with the dilemma of deciding between following your own path and stepping into the destiny everyone around you assumes belongs to you. In my family, the American Dream is having your children do well. It is having your children continue in your footsteps, either in the family industry or attaining a higher level of success than your parents in another industry. The preferable path is that your children pick up the family business and carry it forward. There is a great desire to continue the legacy of the family. There is great pride for someone to pass on a legacy to their offspring. However, for the offspring, this situation is not always as desirable as it may look to other people. With so much decided for you and the ease of possible success at your fingertips, it can be difficult to discern what you truly want for yourself. Additionally, you can begin to take future success for granted. With all of the advantages at your disposal, how could your future work out to be anything but bright? But there can also be guilt. Do you deserve the place that is being set for you? Are you the person that people think that you are? What if you don’t have the same qualities and characteristics that people assume you have? What if the genetic lottery did not imbue you with the traits that are expected of you? The idea that certain traits are indelible to certain people, specifically people with a higher socioeconomic status or a family history of a certain level is a long held notion. The concept that certain people are more deserving than others is not something new. In fact, “English social hierarchy privileges aristocrats by birth over those who distinguish themselves through intellectual labor” (Vaught 65). There is certainly a segment of our society who still clings to that idea—albeit most of them belong to the social class in question and harbor this belief in order to cling to their status. The belief and the associated practices are so prevalent, there is a name for them: nepotism. Nepotism is “favoritism to kinfolk” (Schumer 46). In some instances, the practice of nepotism is a practical practice. For instance, when universities hire married couples in recognition of the fact that academics tend to marry other academics, this is a practice that helps the institution maintain retention of quality professors—which is the topic and focus of Schumer’s piece, “The New Nepotism.” However, the nepotism that is a controversial issue for most people is not the case of married couples gaining employment in the same place. The nepotism that most people have such strong feelings about is the practice of the sons and daughters or someone already enjoying advantages gains employment or favor because of who their parents are. Many people are opposed to this type of nepotism and opposition to this way of life is not new either. In fact, Thomas Jefferson explained his opposition to this concept in his letter to Adams. He referred to this idea as the ‘artificial aristocracy: “I agree with you that there is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents…there is also an artificial aristocracy, founded on wealth and birth, without either virtue or talents” (Jefferson qtd. in Cullin 51). Although Adams and Jefferson ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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