Studs Terkel documents the words of Stephen Cruz who is reminiscent of his past days from the time of college. Cruz, a Mexican immigrant, toiled hard to get the better of his contemporaries in work and joined a MNC after getting educated in management and engineering. He was an individual who strongly believed in the American Dream. He thought that he could climb the ladder of success with his talent and hard work. He soon realized the discrimination against the minorities. Although he was earning much, the stereotyping and discrimination bothered him. He changed jobs only to find himself in similar situations. Although he gained economic prosperity with every job, he was disillusioned by the pragmatic situation. Minorities were not united among themselves and the civil rights movement seemed to have been lost in the myopic memory. He comprehended finally that the American Dream was like the Pandora’s Box for the minorities and seeing them in topmost managerial positions was unacceptable for the whites.
The article delves deep into the issue of racism and inequality which is prevalent in the American society. Behind the garb of the American Dream, the minorities are conditioned to be subordinate to the whites. An individual from the minority is not judged on the basis of his skills and qualification. The ‘norm’ of the business defies the conscience of humanity and discriminates. In the age where the social movements are vehemently protesting any form of inequality based on sex and race, the practice is really perturbing if judged from an unbiased perspective. Terek explores the personal experience of Stephen Cruz who was torn with the feeling of being a victim of discrimination, in spite of being greatly successful in terms of economic prosperity. This individual had embarked upon the journey to reach the summit, but the vested interests associated with the business left him disillusioned. Indeed, Cruz’s realizations and emotions are archetypal of innumerable people from minorities who face such discrimination. The treatment meted out to a minority group by another is startling and only adds to the impediment. The article exposes the social evil which shrouds the American society. The argument for equality transcends the demands of economic opportunity and stirs the rational, sensible mind with the question of humanity and respect for labor. The very foundations are shaken and one can see the dark side of the pomp and grandeur which blind our realization.
Terkel, Studs. American Dreams: Lost and Found. New York City: The New Press, 1980. Print.