Saturday, September 10, 2016

USA Land of Limitations

Article by Nicholas Kristof

Kristof argues that today we do not necessarily live in a "land of opportunity",but rather in a land of our beginnings. " They grow up not in a 'land of opportunity, but in the kind of socially rigid hierarchies that our ancestors fled, the kind of society in which your outcome is largely determined by your beginning"(Kristof).

Unfortunately in today's society, the way you are brought up is most likely the way that you will live your own life. This is not to say that it will 100% end up this way, but it is the norm for most cases. An example of this would be a person growing up living homeless, no money, or parents who had problems of their own. Most children who grow up this way will find it harder to step up and live a more healthy life if they have parents who cannot even take care of themselves. Of course there are some people like Steve Harvey who will find success despite the challenges. This is an example of how it is not the case for all people. I should make it clear that I do not think that what I stated above is always true, much of it is society today and how we treat each other depending on our social and economic status. There are also statistics in the article proving that people may live like they were raised.

Kristof is arguing that it should not be this way and that more attention should be put to the problem. The reasoning for this is that there are too many obstacles that a young person must face to try to get themselves out of this "rut"of not being raised the best possible way. Over the years there has been more of gap in the different social and economical statues which is caused by how people are brought up and how they live their life.

Kristof also talks about a good friend of his(Rick) who was one to be raised by a father who had problems of his own. Rick tried his best to get out of the "rut" he was in from being raised by a father who was an alcoholic but no matter how much he tried, he faced many obstacles. He was faced with too many responsibilities at a young age to be able to get an education and live comfortably. Rick was  a smart person but the obstacles he faced were much too large to focus on his education and his own well-being.

How you were raised, your economic status, and your social status are all ways that limit you in the USA today and that is what Kristof says should be given more attention. Your limitations should not prevent you from being who you want to be or prevent you from having every opportunity possible to be successful.

Points for discussion in class:

The main idea to this argument is that the USA does have limits that are mostly economic limits and social limits. It is not necessarily a "land of opportunity" like it should be. It is rather a "land of limitations" which is why people struggle. The gaps of being wealthy and of being poor are much too wide today. How do we all become successful and make America a "land of opportunity"? Is there an answer to this question?


  1. I totally agree about the life limits of it all. It shouldn't matter where you come from and what you have whether you have money or your poor. Every child is different, but there parents do play a huge part in there life the way they are raised on what they have and don't have.

  2. Cassie, I agree with many points in your writing. How sad is it that some are born almost immediately without having a chance? To be stuck in the class that your parents have been stuck in? Great usage of using a celebrity as an example of someone who climbed out!

  3. The points you made are definitely valid to the reading by Kristof. America has become the definition of the land of limitations based just on where a person is born. I like how you used a celebrity to show an example of the small percent of people who are able to overcome the obstacles, and then use Kristof's friend Rick to show how the obstacles are just too much for some.