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Myths and American Culture

            According to the American Dream, the United States is a country where immigrants from around the world can come and live a comfortable lifestyle through education and hard work, and possibly improve their social status. This idealistic dream implies that people of all races and religions should feel welcomed in the United States and will not have to fear discrimination in any way. But two lurking detriments to these strong morals are the "Myth of the Model Family" and the "Myth of Education and Empowerment." Both the "Myth of the Model Family" and the "Myth of Education and Empowerment" have negative impacts on the lives of Americans, as, according to many articles, neither provide a possible means of attaining the American Dream, resulting in a population unsatisfied with both its family life and general success in life.
             America was founded on diversity, such as ethnicity and lifestyle, as it was founded by immigrants. However, the "Myth of the Model Family" undermines this diversity, as the myth falsely labels the ideal American family strictly as an upper middle class Caucasian nuclear family. It contradicts the American dream that is the cornerstone of American life, as it does not include immigrant families, lower class families, and other minorities. The "model family" described in the myth does not exemplify America's image as a multicultural nation, but rather creates a narrow definition for the model family that is hard or even impossible for most families to live up to. For example, research has shown that "Blacks and Latinos/as are more likely than Whites to say they believe that extended family is important"(Gerstel and Sarkisian 50). And the fact that "minority individuals are more likely to live in extended family homes than Whites and in many ways more likely to help out their aging parents, grandparents, adult children, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, and other kin"(Gerstel and Sarkisian 48) contradicts the "Myth of the Model Family," as it shuns these minority family styles and favors nuclear families.

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