Equal Opportunity in America… A Myth?

Essay by rockstarq06College, UndergraduateA, March 2007

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As I start my car, I realize that the gaslight is on. As I set my sights on the gas station, the car rumbles and chokes, as the engine breathes its last breath of fumes from the gas tank. Luckily, I am on a hill and able to coast down to the gas station. I fill up and cringe at the price. As I am about to pay, I see a guy in his thirties standing in line in front of me. He pays for his gas and buys a lottery ticket. This action seems to amuse me as countless people turn to luck across the nation, despite the miniscule chances, to make money and get rich. But then again, that miniscule chance feels pretty good compared to the high cost of living in America. The high cost of living in America has forced many people into poverty or living from paycheck to paycheck.

In 2004, 12.7% of people in the United States are in poverty. (U.S. Census Bureau) According to Linda Tetzlaff, "There are seventy percent of Americans living from paycheck to paycheck." With so many people in poverty or are struggling from paycheck to paycheck, issues that address equal opportunity come to mind. Equal opportunity is a myth that exists in America, especially when these four factors come into play: education, gender, race, and family wealth.

America is the place where everyone is equal and everyone has equal individual opportunities. That is what the public is made to think; it is a false belief. Most people who are poor are not well educated. Our nation is one that success is factored by education, so these people are stuck at where they are financially. We think that poor and uneducated people have the opportunity to go to college and...