To many, America is already a much developed country. Yet a lot of Americans themselves find it difficult to accept that their country is already at its peak success. Why? Unequal views of both races and people’s economic status. These two are only a few of the many reasons why Americans refuse to say that they have already attained the American Dream.
In this paper, two views of two different writers shall be examined. Namely, Leon E. Wynter who wrote the essay “Transracial America Sells”1, and Langston Hughes who wrote the poem “Let America Be America Again”2
Before the writings are to be observed and examined, it’s very important that we gain knowledge about who the writers really are so as to be able to understand why they have views such as what they wrote.
Leon E. Wynter has been writing for the Wall Street Journal for about 10 years now and has also been a regular contributor to the National Public Radio.
His essays and articles which are published in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times and New York Newsday are usually a series of discussions on how the elimination of racial discrimination, specifically that of the black-Americans and the white-Americans, in the marketplace could contribute to the attainment of the American dream of equality.
On the other hand, Langston Hughes is known for his poetry and compositions on how the old America used to dream of a free America in the future. He’s also known for contributing so much to the Harlem Renaissance through his written works. His writings show of his opinion on how laboring the people could help eliminate the inequality in the American society.
As we go through these paper, several questions are to be considered to clearly understand what these two writers really suggest for the fulfillment of the American dream.
Here are some of the questions we must consider: Which vision of the American dream is more compelling? Will the American dream be fulfilled by the marketplace or by labor? Which writer has a deeper understanding and what are the problems with the views of the less convincing writer? DISCUSSION
Leon E. Wynter’s “Transracial America Sells” shows how the black-Americans already lead the entertainment industry. As he usually talks about the “browning of mainstream commercial culture” in most of his compositions, Wynter points out how the radical shift in the place of race and ethnicity in American commercial culture since the late 1970’s really affects the preferences of people in the marketplace.
He also adds on his essay how nonwhite Americans are giving so much profit to the entertainment industry. He says “color has been weaving through music, sports, television, news media and literature in a bold band that had never been seen before”. True, even the different expressions such as “Wassup” which came from the black-American culture is already widely accepted.
Meanwhile, Langston Hughes’ “Let America be America again” talks about the long-lost dream of the American race. A unified country giving everyone a chance to live in a rather easy life through laboring everyone especially those who are in dire need of employment.
In his poem, he points out how much the land of America really belongs to those who plow it such as the farmers, to those who cultivates its culture and resources, to those who really serve their country to the hardest yet best way they could.
Contrary to Wynter’s composition, Hughes sees the marketplace to be a place of greed widely using people for its own profit and gains. To Hughes, this kind of false equality is rather a hindrance to the true essence of the American dream.
As obviously seen, both of the writers likes to show how possible it really is to attain the American aim of being unified as one country.
One believes in what is obviously seen in the society specially on the marketplace where both white and nonwhite Americans gain the fame and thus influence the greater crowd of a mixed culture and depict a unified America, while the other strongly suggests on putting the lesser fortunate into employment and letting them gain from what they have earned since the land belongs to them.
Consequently, Wynter’s vision of the dream of equality is far more obvious than that of Hughes’. Wynter’s idea is more practical and thus more appealing to almost everyone in the entire globe. Even other countries actually see the reality of what Wynter says “transracial sells”. Surely, many will agree that the mixed culture of the white and non- white Americans is widely spreading in the whole world through media and entertainment.
Since technology has already evolved so much, the unification of different races is easier attained through the use of the entertainment industry and commerce. As a fact, a bigger percentage of the world population is highly influenced with what they see on TV or n the Internet which commerce usually uses as a medium of selling it’s products.
Hughes’ poem on the other hand is also acceptable although it’s a bit of the less truth that is actually happening right now. We are actually leaving in a world where oppression is really rampant and the fact that it happens to those who are less fortunate, his vision of the American dream is somewhat hard to fulfill. Sad but true, we are actually living in a society where the fittest in the group survives.
It is also convincing when Hughes pointed out how greed affects the marketplace so much, that sometimes the equality that the entertainment industry shows is rather false since its only driven by profit-oriented goals of commerce and yet it doesn’t care so much on the needs and interests of the greater number of the lower members of its community who give it the chance of existing.
After all, there would be no such kind of commercial success without the existence of those who patronage its product, the people who have lesser opportunity in the marketplace. But even though he had such a good view on how the American dream could be fulfilled, he still lacked the practical way on looking on what has already been done to meet that certain American goal.
The “marketplace system” also has its positive sides such as allowing the nonwhite Americans fulfill their dreams of fame, being paid well for what they worked for, and be much influential to a greater number of populations in the whole world showing unity and equality on the rights of each person in America. What Hughes’ suggests could also be achieved but it will need much longer time than that of Wynter’s opinion.
However it should be, the American dream of equality and unity is not far from happening as what in the film “Miss Congeniality” says, “In a way America is like a big ship. When we work together and respect each other, that’s when the ship gets safely home”.
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