What does race have to do with achieving the American Dream?
July 11th, 2012
02:44 PM ET

What does race have to do with achieving the American Dream?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Turns out the American Dream may not be for everyone.

A new report by the Pew Charitable Trusts shows that a family's race, economic background and neighborhood play a role in economic mobility.

The study finds that while 84% of Americans have higher incomes than their parents did at the same age, those born at the top and bottom of the income ladder are likely to stay there.

When it comes to race, African-Americans are less likely to top their parents' income and wealth than whites are. And blacks are more likely to be stuck at the bottom of the ladder or fall out of the middle.

This study couldn't even measure black mobility in the upper income levels because the number was too small.

Meanwhile here's another piece to the wealth inequality puzzle:

Recent Census Bureau data shows that white Americans have 22 times more wealth than blacks. Twenty-two times.

In 2010 the median household net worth for whites was about $111,000 compared to less than $5,000 for blacks.

Whites also have 15 times more wealth than hispanics.

This wealth inequality is due to many factors including the implosion of the real estate market along with higher unemployment rates among minority groups.

Statistics like these are one of the many reasons why President Obama is such an historical figure.

He is america's first ever African-American president - with a background that certainly wasn't privileged. But Mr. Obama is the exception, not the rule.

And the rule is, if you're born poor, you're probably going to stay that way.

Here’s my question to you: What does race have to do with achieving the American Dream?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: Race
soundoff (153 Responses)
  1. Jayne in NH

    American dream??? We can't be sure we'll all be allowed to vote this year!

    July 11, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  2. Elizabeth From Toronto

    Everything unfortunately. "If your're white your're alright; if you are brown stick around; if you are black get back! Even if you are in the military you may not succeed. Unless you are a baseball, football or any sports player, musician, actor, you will not succeed. The entire history of slavery and the Civil War will always be up front to push the racist agenda forward until people like you. me and everybody born before 1990 is dead! Sad but true.

    July 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  3. Pat in Michigan

    Everything .I find it wholly ironic that a nation written and conceived with the idea of equality and religious tolerance ,enslaved a race of people to build what they wanted and killed off those who were already residents to get what they wanted.All that time fighting the british who did the same to others all over the world.
    Now that a sizeable group of citizens have now decided to share the rights written about and died for . we are branded socialists and liberals and communists and hated for our religious belief of brotherhood for all.
    Until such time as "WE THE PEOPLE" decide that liberty and justice for ALL is not just a concept but a reality ,we will continue to fight and die for just that."A "CONCEPT"

    July 11, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  4. Annie, Atlanta

    Ask the bigots in Congress, who have freaked out since "we the people" put a Democratic black man in the White House.

    July 11, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  5. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua, NY

    A meritocracy free of prejudices against race, religion, sexual orientation is the raison d'etre of America.

    July 11, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  6. Ben from Boston

    Consider five newborns – an African American, a Hispanic, a Caucasian, an Asian, and a Native American. Which one has the best chance of achieving the American Dream during their lifetime? Carefully ponder all the things that could affect the chances for each of these babies and you will answer your own question.

    July 11, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  7. Brenda From Ontario Canada

    I have just this week returned from vacationing in your country and I have come to this realization... As a Canadian I see people but in the US you see race/colour. In Canada everyone has the opportunity to achieve the "Canadian Dream" race is not part of the equation; is there prejudice in my country... I have no doubt that there is, but someone's race, skin colour or religious beliefs would not stand in the way of achieving their dream. The right wing religious nuts (for lack of a better word) and your people's inability to see beyond race and colour will be its' downfall. The US claims to be a "melting pot"

    July 11, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  8. Bob in Ohio

    Most white folks will answer "nothing". But let's wait 40 or 50 years and ask their grandchildren the same question when the shoe is on the other foot and they are now a minority. Bet the response is different.

    July 11, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  9. Sarah/Dumfries ,VA

    Race leads in everything in the country ,the republican/teaparty most racist & most ignorant wants to block everything minoities are able to achieve,GOD is the one who has the power & not make believe republican/teaparty so called Christians

    July 11, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  10. Dave, Orlando, FL

    A whole lot. Non-whites and females have to work much harder to get to the same place as a Caucasian male. But as whites lose their majority status and blend in with the multi-colored face of America, and as the middle class is extinguished where there is only the filthy rich and the filthy masses, none of it will matter anyway.

    July 11, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  11. EdfromMd

    Nothing, everyone stumbles on the 2.5 babies...

    July 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  12. Mel - Houston

    Idealistically it shouldn't have anything to do with it but the Declaration of Independence and the U. S. Constitution do not guide this country as it once did. Maybe what we need is another constitutional convention to add a glossary to the document. Define each term so that no one can twist its meaning to their liking.

    July 11, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  13. Tom in Desoto, TX

    I would hope most people would realize and not dream. Realize that an assault has been taking place on individual rights, unions, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. I believe minimum wages laws along with overtime over 40 hours worked to be dismantled.

    July 11, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  14. Indie Pete in Florida

    More than anything else, race can limit one's opportunities. America is still overwhelmingly run by whites, and their perceptions of others are often based on race, religion, sex, wealth, appearance, and personality. If you don't meet the white person's internalized litmus test of "acceptability", you don't get the job, the apartment, the bargain, the education, and a variety of other opportunities that could have helped you achieve the American dream. Achieving the dream has suddenly become a hundred times harder, if not impossible.

    July 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  15. Gary in San Jose, California

    Lady Liberty has a special affection for the oppressed.

    July 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  16. Steve, Clifton, Virginia

    A Race of people were used to build the structural foundation of the American Dream and then those very same people were denied access to the American Dream or opportunities to pursue it because of their race. Other than that tidbit of history, race has nothing to do with the American Dream.

    July 11, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  17. Randy

    What American dream? So-called "elites" from all races have sold the American dream down the river in the name of being a more "globalized" world. This new globalized world consists of sending manufacturing to china, importing cheap labor from Mexico, gutting social programs and services, and all on the backs of the AMERICAN middle class and poor. And what do we get in return from the billionaire/millionaire global citizen??? We get the largest amount of these ultra-rich " job creators" giving up citizenship (evading taxes) in the history of the united states.

    July 11, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  18. Pete in Georgia

    It depends on who you listen to......................and how gullible you are.
    Every politician and every news media outlet has an agenda, and both are masters of their craft. Combined, these liberal slight of hand artists can weave a senario that would make Shakespeare look illiterate. They spend most of their resources deceiving the American minority public into believing that only with Big Government at your side can you ever hope to achieve anything in life worth while.
    Deception beyond belief.

    July 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  19. Greg Turman


    Black un employment is 14.8% which is almost twice that of the national average of 8.2%. Texas has the lowest unemployment at 7.3%. In addition, liberal un employment = 0.00%.
    The highest un employemnt is in California, New York and Michigan.
    Do not think race has anything to do with the American dream, it appears to have more to do with living in a job friendly, low tax state.
    Gregory Turman

    July 11, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  20. s in fl

    I live in the redneck Riviera, Jack. 'Round here, that's what I would call a rhetorical question, or in the local lingo.. "Huh?"

    July 11, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  21. Doug Ericson

    The US has come a long way in improving equality for the different races. Speaking the Kings English was a rarity for most minorities a half a century ago, and today it is so common as to be expected. Afirmatrive action type policies have worked to the benefit of most minorities. But while the Bottom has risen the Top has fallen down. We have Generals with the tactical ability of Snow Shoe Crabs. ( I don't know what a Snow Shoe Crab is, it just came to me. ). We have Wall Street Tycoons who lose Trillions of Dollars and act like they just scratched off a losing 2 dollar lottery ticket. Our Political leaders make Bank Robbers look like Elder Statesmen. I think I strayed off course here. Oh yeah, so what we need is some sort of reverse affirmative action program to help the top 1% catch up with the rest of us. Doug, Pepperell, MA.

    July 11, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  22. Oliver El Paso, TX

    The GOP sense day 1 of the Obama presidents has been Ugly and Races e. He became the first back president, the GOP have brag how they would be against Obama propose, they do not not want him to look good. Then the Tea part and GOP took over and the tree suggest ( Boehner, Cantor, McConnell) were created, they took an oath to work for the American people all they have done is nothing and their actions has drag of this country down, by lowering the country credit rating, not passing any bills so as to make Obama look bad. I have news for, them the American are not dummy and stupid, they can figure out whats have done, maybe they will be vote out god willing, they are not good for this country!. Jack race in America can have effect in achieving the American Dream?

    July 11, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  23. David - Augusta, Georgia

    Race has nothing to do with the American Dream. Whether your white, black, yellow or brown, you are given the chance to come start over again in the land of opportunity and freedom.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  24. Richard Texas

    Very little Jack. The American dream means different things to different people. For some it is owning a home. To others it may be religious freedom or perhaps the chance for something good to happen to them or success or even good health. To others it is simply the ability to pay their bills and to feel safe in their home at night with a stomach full of food and a few dollars in their savings account. The days of slavery are long gone and anyone regardless of race, sex or religious belief has the ability to find which ever their version of the American dream may be.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  25. calaurore9

    It can be an asset or a liability, like anything else. It depends on how hard you work, perseverance, and luck. Everyone has to overcome hurdles, right Mr. President?

    C. in Ma.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  26. Michael Bindner, Alexandria VA

    Everything, because the ability to achieve the dream depends on equal access to good education, which is decidedly still not the case for many people in poor non-white districts. Parents who are in the criminal justice or welfare systems are told to work rather than being given the educations they did not get in their time in school, making it hard to break the cycle of poverty.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  27. Thom Richer

    It is a little WHITE lie, Jack.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    July 11, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  28. Kim, Dodge City, Kansas

    Come on, Jack, this is America. You know, that place where we say one thing but in reality do another. Race is the basis of at least one half of our two party system, and although we don't admit it in public, in practice it is the primary motivator for millions of Americans. As far as the so-called (and often pronounced dead) "American Dream" is concerned, it has been modified to reflect the American nightmare that is the destruction of the middle class. Black, White, Brown, Yellow, or even Purple, we are all equal value targets, ready for exploitation by our corporate-owned and foreign financed Congress.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  29. Loren, Chicago

    Race should have nothing to do with achieving the American Dream, but reality says that the culture of the various races that make up America does have an influence on that achievement. So long as the political leaders of African-Americans continue to look to the Federal government as the means to achieve the dream, African-Americans will be at a disadvantage in potetially achieving it. As Malcolm X understood, to achieve, you cannot rely on anyone but yourself, and so long as you accept handouts, you will continue to be a beggar. Unfortunately, it is in the interests of the leaders of the Democratic Party and the African-American politicians to keep the African-American community beholden to them, so they will do nothing that might threaten that fealty, and race will continue to play a role in achieving the American Dream.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  30. Martha Brooks

    A Lot. Even with all the improvement in social attitudes over that past half-century, most minorities still suffer from sub-standard everything from housing, health care, education...opportunities in general. If you do not believe that, you have your head planted firmly you-know-where.

    Martha, Rew, PA

    July 11, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  31. Barbara

    Nothing. Except some (republicans) still treat blacks and other people "of color" like they are dirty slaves or worse. It's a shame what they say behind their backs and sometimes to their faces. Remember the people spitting on some of the congressmen a couple of years ago? It's a learned thing, and they refuse to unlearn it.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  32. Lisa in Denver

    Wow! OMG almost everything. I am white and I know I have it easier....anyone who doesn't believe this must be from another planet.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  33. John from Alabama

    Jack: Race should have nothing to do with achieving the American Dream, but in some parts of this country is does have something to do with success. It is harder for blacks and espainics to succeed in the southeast due to perceptions by the majority of the white population. The Southern Baptist selected an African- American as president of the Southern Baptist faith, but those same people will not vote for a black or espainic for president or US senate races. Even if one of the candidates belongs to an occult.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  34. Julia, Fayetteville, NC

    Race puts a lot of people into a path of excellence that is not given to WASPs. WASPs are like women; they have to work twice as hard to excell. However, we WASPs sometimes do well and are top-notch however we have to have a lot of luck and educational background.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  35. james in greenville nc

    Jack, if you don't make it you can claim discrimination or reverse discrimination. Race is a good crutch for those who do not succeed. I do not use race as the reason I did not achieve the American dream. I blame my parents for not leaving me wealthy. It is their fault, not mine.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  36. Brandon Harrison

    Race is a major factor in achieving the American Dream. It is an inspiration that minorities can rise to such heights because let's face it, there are many that are apprehensive about minorities.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  37. Steve from Concord, CA

    Race has everything to do with achieving the American Dream, Jack. We may have moved to a colorblind society in the 50's and 60's, but it seems we're moving back to a color sensitive one. So much for television being in technicolor.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  38. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Yes it does and it will continue to be an issue until the minorities are no longer in the minority. We don't treat people equally in America and you can quote me, "If the GOP gets control of all branches of Gov, it will be even worse".

    July 11, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  39. Ed from California

    It should have nothing to do with it. But, sadly it does. In order to achieve the "American Dream" you have to want it. You have have to try hard everyday. Pay attention in school, stay in school, stay out of trouble, always do the right thing and stop following the crowd. Our nation is heading quickly into Third World Status. I don't see this congress doing anything to help our young achieve greatness. I don't see this congress trying to help our unemployed achieve greatness, either. This congress forgot their oath when they took office. All they worry about is not missing the Koch brother telephone call. The paper this morning read that, the Solano food back can't possibly feed the 34,000 hungry people in my county. And in Napa Co. 13.000 hungry people can't get fed, either. This shouldn't be happening in this country. My country is hurting badly, and it maybe to late to save it. Keep on buying communist Chinese made products!!

    July 11, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  40. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    I think the problem is education especially in the ghetto. We need to focus more on getting more young children educated. When you are born in a high crime area by teenage parents I don't care what color your skin is you don't have much of a chance in life unless someone shows you a way out. I think this situation will only get worse if Romney and the Republicans take over because these people in the Republican Party don't exist. These people along with the middle class are left to fend for themselves if Romney becomes president. We need to realize that by helping people less fortunate we are also helping ourselves in becoming a better nation.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  41. David R Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Absolutely Nothing!!!! Jack and I wish that those who take that sorry short cut "race"" would stop doing it because
    it really sets a wrong to a wrong X 10.Anyone that has looked around lately and got involved in our great country would
    have noticed long ago that we have some of the VERY best and the brightest from all races doing awesome work.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  42. David Gerstenfeld

    'All men are created equal" especially if you're white & educated. It helps to have rich parents.
    David, Las Vegas

    July 11, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  43. wayne, va beach, va

    Race has very little to do with achieving the american dream, Jack. Its what a person does with the hand he or she is
    dealt. With so many handouts available to the "disadvantaged", theres no incentive to better yourself. Some people would rather set around and feel sorry for themselves.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  44. Gail, Plano TX.

    Jack: Race has everything to do with achieving the American Dream! We, the white race have made it literally almost impossible for a black man to succeed. You are correct in that the President is an anomaly. And trust me, we will not see the likes of him again. The GOP will make sure of that! America is not the land of the free, & certainly not equal

    July 11, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  45. Nancy, Tennessee

    Race has nothing to do with success. It all boils down to confidence. President Obama had the audacity to speak to millions at the Democratic National convention in 2004. Once on the national scene, he never looked back and made calculated steps to run for the President of the United States. Everyone should learn from him that you have to set your sites on the prize and go for it. Maybe having doting grandparents to guide you gives you the confidence to succeed in life. Parents tend to be more conservative when handing out advice on what we can or cannot do.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  46. Jim in Denver, CO

    Unfortunately it has a lot of influence, and it shouldn't. But with the current politics and sociological mindset of the vast population certain ethnic groups are not being allowed to get ahead. It is what it is until their is equality and equal opportunity for everyone.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  47. David of Alexandria VA

    race may be a factor in the timeing of achieving the American Dream, but does not particulalrly affect the ability to achieve it. I think that of you want it enough, and work hard enough you'll find a way to get it. if you are a minority, the government has put lots of preferential programs in place to help you on your way. 70 yeasr ago, this country was 90% white - so no wonder the accumulation of wealth, perspective, and moboility has been engendered there. Blacks have been here a long time but under repressed conditions. As those fall away, as they have been and will continue to do so, the attendent mobility will begin to catch up. Jack, there are far too many successful Americans of all races and ethnicity to belive that there is a universal built-in barier to success. It still takes a lot of work, not every individual will make it, including white guys - there is no such thing as The American Entitlement.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  48. Andre R. Newcomb

    " . . . your silhouette will charge the view of distant atmosphere." For some the "race" may be of different qualities . . . like who can sprout wings . . . that our evolving is directed to that point . . . that in this journey (evolution), we are first developing shoulder-blades to support the muscular network to accomplish such . . . first. Perceiving light (color of skin) is merely a distraction . . . like salivating when one smells the bacon.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  49. S65 AMG

    Nothing! work hard, go to school, and don't stop till you get what you want. There are no excuses!! People spend way to much time being worried about what some else has and not enough time trying to get it for themselves. If you're poor blame your self, not race!

    July 11, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  50. Wilhelm in Las Vegas

    IF White families have 20+ times more wealth than Blacks and 15 times more than Hispanics, then White childern are more likely to go to better schools and be able to afford college than Black or Hispanic childern. with education generally being the "key" to getting a good paying job as an adult, it means Whites have a much higher chance of "achieving the American Dream".

    July 11, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  51. Sylvia from California

    Nothing... It is an excuse that bears no resemblance to reality.............

    July 11, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  52. Brad, Portland, OR

    Are you promoting class warfare, Jack? Complaining about wealth and income inequality is so... progressive.

    You're not being a very good Republican today...

    July 11, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  53. Gordo from NJ

    Race and inherited poverty makes it far more difficult for black and hispanic youth to achieve the American dream. Most white middle class C students can usually ride inherited wealth through college to middle class jobs. Poor, black C students don't get that opportunity.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  54. John Lake Charles, LA

    I'm a polish american. That makes me a minority also. I am sick and tired of all this white, black, brown, yellow, red crap. The only race that matters is the human race.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  55. Kim, Dodge City, Kansas

    American Dream? Whats that? Get sick and file for bankruptcy? Save all your life and have it stolen by Wall Street bankers? No, Jack, it's an American Nightmare.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  56. Richard Hill/Colebrook,NH

    Jack, to a certain degree values and virtures are key here. A value is something that you act to gain or keep and a virtue is your method of doing so. Unfortunately, life is not fair, and some of us have to work harder just to get a foot in the door of many companies but generally, good core values are eventually rewarded.
    I see good parenting, education, strong core values, and a level playing field as the neccessary ingredients for success in life.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  57. Gigi Oregon

    Your view is a negative and prejudice view. I'm able to look back at the last 50 years and have seen the change in my own family. The United States family (ours) and friends has changed, with interracial marriages, ethnic backgrounds, education, moving to other countries for employment etc. With the ability to find information at our finger tips has added to our knowledge faster than the media can spin it. Since the Internet influence and the last eight years of the Bush mess our children have had an eye opening. They have friends of many backgrounds and have traveled through out Europe, North Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia and found many different forms of government and discovered that the United States has been in trouble for a long time. And "Change" is still the hope and dream of the young adult and their parents. President Obama will bring that dream alive. The only people who are afraid are the Elite and they will be left behind. If... they don't see being a part of the American Dream is cooperation and not Capitalization. After all they are the Great-Great grandchildren of the Greatest Generation of Americans.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  58. Norris from Alabama

    Investigations shows that blacks who were qualified for better deals were disproportionately steered towards sub-prime loans. Studies show that applicants with 'black sounding' names are 50% less likely to be offered job interviews and white people with felony records are more likely to get job offers than blacks without criminal records. Clearly discrimination exits. But, since 1980, most of the population has seen their standards of living deteriorate. As long as republicans push policies that concentrate wealth and hurt most people, ending discrimination will be less of a priority. At the same time, their coded language—calling President Obama the 'Food Stamp' President and falsely claiming that most of the people on food stamps are black—will continue to pit people in the same economic boat against each other.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  59. manning

    Jack if you were not white, you would not ask this question.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  60. JM from DFW

    Ervin "Magic" Johnson provides an example of a successful African American that uses his resources to generate hope and opportunity in the African American Community. Government thinks it's welfare – a Republicans point of view. And no one else will invest because of all the negative promotion by the greedy who want to rob from the needy.

    Call it class warfare, I call it the new America ... home of the greedy and the growing needy and a nation that has lost it's compassion ... unless you have a good war we can fight!

    July 11, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  61. I'm a Rose

    It must have something to do with it since there have been 40 some old white men versus Our present President Barack obama. He had to work very hard to achieve it, and has done a wonderful job with what he was dealt. He is the American Dream. Obama/Biden 2012.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  62. JAB - Missouri

    Your intro answers its own question. African Americans and other minorities are significantly less well off than whites. If wealth is a part of the American Dream, then race has a lot to do with achieving the American Dream.

    July 11, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  63. Renee, Illinois

    Far too much, unfortunately. This is a lousy legacy from our ancestors who were ignorant and greedy (slaves were free labor). It's already taken too long to come as far as we have and some – who shall remain nameless – are still trying to take us backward. Here's a thought to mull over: the body is just a shell, the soul has no color.

    July 11, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  64. Phyllis Gwendoline Williams

    What does race have to do with achieving the American Dream?

    Ignorance has caused human beings to judge each other by their exterior.
    God our Father has created us (Colossians 1: 16) given us all things visible and visible free,
    a free earth, a free heaven (Revelation 21: 7), and His creation have turned idiots
    watching each others' color, and destroying one another to get to a Lake of Fire(Rev.20: 15)
    We all go back to the Dust from which we came (Genesis 3: 19)
    We all have the same inheritance (1st Peter 1: 4).

    July 11, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  65. chris

    The American Dream is when you finally realize you live in a country everyone in the world want to be. Then you sit down and figure what you want out of it and go for it. If your dream is a government check then accept how large that check is and live with it. If your dream is your own business the learn and go for it and accept whatever challenges you'll face. But if you are sitting around waiting for someone other than yourself to make that dream come true then yes..you probably will never achieve it and every day of your life will be less than you might have been.

    July 11, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  66. ken, atlantic city, nj

    Race has nothing to do with achieving your dream. Affirmative action should make it easier for blacks, to achieve their goals. Look at obama.

    July 11, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  67. Jeff, Chicago

    It is a nice political rallying-cry as it gets the nuts on the left all riled up. But the reality is that it has less to do with skin color and more about where someone starts in life on the economic ladder. Poor whites have no more of a chance of becoming successful than poor blacks. It is very hard to move more than one or two economic tiers. In other words, people born in the bottom 10% have very little hope of getting into the top 10%. That reality is irrespective of skin color.

    July 11, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  68. DeMARCO

    It's my birthday Jack, on thing I can say about you push your topics to the limit,if you work hard,trust God,get an education there isn't anything you can't do. Our country regardless of it's history is the only country on the planet
    that we can say we are free.By the way Jack am 50 today 7/11 never won a dime off of any bets.
    My parents were poor we lived in a shot-gun house in Indiana, for the last twenty two years of my life I have
    lived ten miles from D.C. my mortgage is 2,500 a month DO THE MATH

    July 11, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  69. rc

    Reading these messages is shocking to me. First of all, to the self righteous Canadian, your coutry threw a banana at a black hockey player recently so please save your air of supeririority at home. Second, I am in healthcare. I employ 150 people, I can't even tell you how many are black, female, white or hispanic because I don't count and I don't care. All I care about is providing good service to my clients. If that service can be delivered by green people that's fine with me. Additionally, every health system I work with has people of color in high ranking positions. Maybe I am not wordly enough to see all the rampant prejudice people talk about, be in my industry in my neck of the woods, there is opportunity regardless of race, color and gender.

    July 11, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  70. Ed in Sacramento

    Dear Jack,

    While I love your column you need to be called out on this one.

    It is not about race, It is about the family and community support support system which lauds achievement. WHICH SEES AN ADVANTAGE IN AN EDUCATION AND APPLYING ONESELF!

    If you really look at the question you have posed it would seem that the answer would be that blacks and hispanics are not capable of competing with whites, obviously that is wrong.

    No harps or violins can suddenly cause any segment of our society to change, however pointing out to them that positive change is within their grasp elevates the entire society.

    Might we at least look at the why of this problem rather than listening to the same old tune of poverty???

    July 11, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  71. DaleW in MA

    Race is the basis for the have-have not caste system the Republicans are pushing so hard for. Do you think all the antiabortion regulations the southern holy roller bigots are sneaking through is meant for any body except women of color? The same can be said of their fear of 'Obamacare', it's only benefiting poor people and people of color, whites all have good jobs 'cause they're white and don't want to pay for 'lessor's' issues.

    July 11, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  72. Kulow Ali

    Whites don’t have two heads or special wiring, so they’re using their God given brains to have the best; therefore, minorities don’t have excuses.

    I am from East Africa.

    July 11, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  73. LeEura Smith

    One of my co-workers asked me what I was doing and I told her listening to Romeny being booed at the NAACP Convention. Her response was they should be booing Obama because YA'LL race is leading in the unemployment line. I looked at her after I calmed down and told her the President is not sitting behind the desk that hire “we the people”. He does not make the decision on who get hired at any place of employment. I told her we have always lead the line of unemployment because we don't have chances YA'LL have. My name is LeEura Smith, I always get the interviews but once they see the color of my skin it's a different story. The American Dream.... Crazy!!!!

    July 11, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  74. Larry in Houston

    What does race have to do with achieving the American Dream?
    Answer : Your last sentence said it all.
    Let me put it another way – (I've heard this remark from many people that worked practically all their lives, til they retired) and I quote :
    ""You'll Never Get Rich by Carrying a Lunch Bucket, or a "packed lunch" to Work""

    (and I mean Never)

    Think about it for a minute – How many people that are Doctors or Lawyers, or CEO's or the people that work on Wall Street & I can go on & on, carry lunch bags ? or bring their "Lunch" to work ? (those type of people typically go "out" on a daily basis)

    July 11, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  75. Kennis- Richton Park Illinois

    It means everything until we can figure out how to make sure that everyone has access to a good education regardless of what zip code you are born into.

    July 11, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  76. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    Yet, if we measure the "American Dream" on anything but monetary wealth, let's say spiritual wealth or the wealth that comes with awareness, the rich white guy is the minority while achieving nothing.

    Carl Jung once stated that living from the outside of one's self is living in a dream, but living from what is inside is living in awareness.

    As it is defined today you can keep the American Dream Jack, my soul is not for sale.

    July 11, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  77. Paul, Louisiana

    Well Jack, this is the country where all races have second chances. The American Dream is to live, to breathe, to cry, to love, and to imagine the possibilities. The dream is to be a American; to bleed red, white, and blue!

    July 11, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  78. Donaldo in ATL

    It is all about work ethic and parental involvement in the education of their children. Race is a non factor, it does seem to play well with the media and with interest groups tied to $$. Show me a black or hispanic family with parental involvement and displaying a strong work ethic, and I will show you the potential for the American Dream to be alive and well. Being white is no picnic either, especially if you lack education. Rather than focus on Race, lets focus on the really important stuff......most thinking people can figure this out without the media telling them.

    July 11, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  79. Larry in Alabama

    Depends on where you live and the school you attend there

    July 11, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  80. Bill

    Don't think race has as much to do with it as the Rich do everything they can to put middle class people further out of rich range and closer to the poor house. Working hard don't mean much anymore in this country since rich run the government and want to outsource to cheaper labor overseas.

    The rich are the reason for racial problems and problems among the different religions and cultures. As long as they can cause friction between the races, religions, and cultures, it takes the focus off the rich or extremely wealthy.

    July 11, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  81. Jeff in Minnesota

    While I understand the researcher's point, I think they missed the boat. It's not race that is the problem, it's the connections made as you go through life that are the problem. We are the sum of whom we come into contact through our lives. Look at your own life Jack. Would you be where you are today if you had not come across certain key people throughout your life? The unfortunate aspect is that not everyone gets to run in the right circles of influence that furthers their career and lives. Based on the results of this research, it appears that a person's race highly influences their ability to connect to people of influence that could make a difference in their lives.

    July 11, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  82. Michael, from Smiths, Alabama

    ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! The people over at the F-word network, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, and others would have you believe that their plan for the American Dream would be viable to ALL races, religions and creeds..but their real plan is only viable if you're rich, Protestant and white. The fact some states have either limited who can vote, or have tried removing Obama's name from their ballots is yet another example.

    July 11, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  83. independentlyowned

    This is by no means new information, just a more recent study of facts that have been long know to those who looked in the right places. As much as us whites like to pretend like everyone has equal opportunities if we just work hard enough, it's just not true. This then leads to "Well if a black person isn't ahead in life, it's because they're lazy." Vicious cycle.

    Sure hard work gets you a lot of places, but couple that with a contribution to your college tuition or down payment on a house from your parents, who are more likely to have amassed wealth if they're white, then you're golden. Or a loan you were able to take out to start a business, which you're more likely to get approved for and get a good interest rate if you're white. These little things get taken for granted by us whites all too often, and it's next to impossible to walk in the other man's shoes.

    -Katie, Jersey City, NJ

    July 11, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  84. Kimmy, Salisbury NC

    You know when my White Grandparents came to this country legally through Ellis Island they tried to apply for warehousing, manufacturing jobs in New York and New Jersey. The signs all read "Irish need not apply" . They went into business for themselves and were successful. Anyone can do anything if they set their mind to it. Enough with the race card... we are all Red Blooded Americans!!

    July 11, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  85. Mark in BC NV

    As long as the black community buy into the Democratic/Socialist/Plantation Party's platorm of "helplessness, victimization, entilement mentallity, and society (the white male) owes yous something", you're going no where my friend. You and your family decendents will always depend on that party for your welfare in life. How about taking personal responsibility like most Americans, and do something with your life? Quit depending on us for your welfare.
    Racism is rampant alright, it's in the black community.

    July 11, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  86. Richard Texas

    I have to disagree with you Jack. I was born very poor and made my way up the ladder on my own through hard work and perseverance not handouts and hope. People can do anything they want regardless of their color or their families status. That being said even some of the most privileged children born to the greatest wealth and holding the highest titles have been complete failures. Life is what YOU make it not what statistics may indicate might become of you.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  87. Bill

    It's all MINDSET. It doesn't matter what color you are.

    Stop wearing your pants down to your ankles. Stop talking in slang. Stop thinking you're entitled. Take some pride in what you do.

    Walk to the library and start reading.

    It doesn't matter where you are, it matter WHERE YOU WANT TO BE.

    Set some goals. Go achieve them.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  88. JCal

    Race has nothing to do with the American dream – that is directly. Much of the discrepancies in wealth are historical in nature, and it will take some time for those discrepancies to work themselves out. The 20th century was not a good time for any wealth building for everyone. The myth of home ownership and wealth is now exposed as a myth. Any capitalist country will have a wide distribution of wealth. Unless you want go to socialism, there is no way of changing that – though President Obama has used this as commonly as a campaign tactic. Things are never perfect.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  89. G. Pauling

    Hey Jack, the sad thing is race has always played a role in how we chase the American Dream and receive it! Opportunities are limited for ethnic people across the board. Just look at the recent stats from the U.S. Census regarding wealth in American! One thing to remember, just because it illegal to hang folks doesn't mean people still don't want to do it. That hatful thinking is still there... it's just hidden under a tie and suit.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  90. Ranger14

    White privelage is a way of life in America. It is so ingrained in the system, that many well intentioned people do not see it. If you are white in America, you can be average in school or at work and can still get ahead. People of color don't have that luxury. They have to be the best or there is no chance of upward mobility.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  91. Joe Seattle

    Sorry Jack, this article is trash, principally because you've left out some rather easily available relevant data.

    Asian Americans, a smaller minority than blacks and able to tout enormous historical racial grievances, outperform whites on the American dream. Extensive studies have been done correlating global/ethnic intelligence statistics. The data overwhelmingly shows that current black populations on planet earth have significantly lower intelligence, including African Americans. We do not have to like the data, but we can't expect reality to conform to our touchy-feely sense of justice.

    We make way too much of people's racial differences. There are much more important differences between people that do matter. Low intellgence is a much greater disadvantage than any skin color, and to those born with that curse, I don't know what to tell you, other than you should just do the best with what you have. But we should be more concerned with making sure we do not interfere with access to the world's resources by individuals with enough intelligence to use them for the greater benefit of mankind, whatever the color of their skin.

    There are plenty of intelligent black people in the world, and they'll rise to the top like anyone else with exceptional aptitudes in spite of any hardship.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  92. Oliver

    Race means nothing in America, except to racists. And quite frankly, nobody really thinks they count (beyond republicans who will gladly take their votes). America is ruled by the almighty dollar. If you are born rich, you will die rich. Born poor? Well, the vast majority will die poor. Black, white hispanic? No. Rich, Middle Class and Poor. All that matters.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  93. quickstrong

    I think it will definitely be more difficult now as they begin to cut the free entitlement programs. There will be no way for some to make as much as their parents when the free money is gone.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  94. xfiler93

    The American dream for some is to be taken care of, and not work. to be on the govt dole and have other people pay your bills, while you sit on your butt. Hard work, success and indpendence is viewed as bad, that you had to screw someone to get there. Sickeing. this is the Liberal view that has taken over America.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  95. Edwin

    I am a multi racial man married to a multi racial woman. Both my wife and I grew up in "ghetto" neighboorhoods and homeless shelters, so we by no means were privileged growing up. Due to our faith in God and our motivation and perseverance we are living a decent quality of life and have alot of potential to continue to increase our standard of living.

    More people of color can live and achieve this as well with some adjustments in their behaviors and thoughts.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  96. John J. Grimes Watertown, Ma.

    Unfortunately, far too many people who have lived in America their entire lives truly believe that they are entitled to have what everyone else without putting in the work to achieve it. Some have a better chance because they were born into wealth while others might simply give up early on because they haven't any idea what even 5% of the American dream actually is.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  97. Holly from Birmingham

    I would say that starting economic status has more to do with success in life than race. I'm a white female who grew up very poor in a small town in Georgia. I'm intelligent, and I did well in school, but a smart kid (white or black) from a poor family in a small town can only get so far without guidance. I had to learn how big the world is and how to succeed in it on my own. In a poor household, I think that's the most damning factor- how does a parent teach a child about successes they can't even imagine?

    July 11, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  98. John

    Race means relatively little. As a lifelong conservative, southerner I can tell you I could care less a person's race. Character and ability matter most to me. Race never even enters the equation.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  99. Rick from Ohio

    It may be related to how many children are being raised in two parent families. That has a direct relation on educational success, which is related to economic prosperity.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  100. Martha Campbell

    It's called "Generational Welfare". We all know that it is mostly minorities who have been, continue to be, and will be in the future on our welfare rolls. If you are born into welfare and that's all you know, you will be continue to be on welfare for generations to come. We need to fix this problem NOW. Education is the answer.

    Jamestown, PA

    July 11, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  101. michelle - san francisco

    depends what race you're talking about. The dream has nothing to do with starting out poor. The ones who have the will to lift themselves up and out of poverty are succeeding and have found the dream. that's all there is to it, you have to want it badly enough. Sadly, a lot of people (no race mentioned) feel it is too much work.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  102. Mike

    It should have nothing to do with it! Everyone has the opportunity to achieve greatness or choose to be a loser. It comes down to every individuals desire to work for it!

    July 11, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  103. Another AC

    Race was, is, and always will be a factor in every aspect of American life. There are "White" people in this country who at one point weren't (Eastern Europeans, Jews, Irish, and Mediterraneans, for example), and nearly all of them have seen their prospects of reaching the American Dream increase exponentially since 'becoming White'. And *while things have improved* for African Americans, the improvement rate is much slower... unless you consider going from being 3/5 of a person to "separate but equal" to finally being considered a full American citizen (despite being part of the fabric of the nation since its inception) and having any shot at all at the American Dream a comparable rate.

    Socioeconomics also plays a role, but a poor White person will have an easier time overcoming barriers to wealth (and therefore the American Dream) than a poor African American or Latino.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  104. Bernard from Warner Robins GA

    Race is a hindrance to achieving the american dream but is not a prevention.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  105. Demond

    EVERYTHING, especially if you are not taught your ethnic history.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  106. zammer

    Rich people make the laws. Rich people are afraid their money will be worth less if poor people get rich.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  107. Garrett Perez

    Race has nothing to do with it, hard work and determination is how you acive the American dream. You can be black, white, hispanic and be born in poverty it takes lots of work to get you out, i learned that from my step-dad

    July 11, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  108. Nancy

    Everything. I have African American friends who have gotten death threats from racist people and yes in 2012. We are no further ahead in 2012 than we were in 1812. It's a mere illusion to think we are.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  109. Jerry in Colorado Springs

    President Obama had a working white mother & working white grandparents who loved, supported, & nurtured him throughout his sometimes chaotic life. What do most black kids have? And whose fault is that?

    July 11, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  110. Nick D. Neighbour

    I CAN'T BELIEVE you're STILL asking these DUMB Questions Jack! Where have you been these last 150 years?
    Whites, DON'T WANT to employ Blacks, OR, Hispanics! And, Whites have all the CLOUT!
    Nick. N.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  111. delores shelby

    race is a major factor in the idea that you will likely stay poor if you are already poor. until the top one% decide that they have enough money and stop to "create jobs' there are no jobs for anyone to get.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  112. deborah ballweg Seibert, co

    It's not race, it's attitude. Time spent decring lost oppotunities and "racism" and " poor me-ism " would be better spent impoving one's education and drive to succeed. America is the land of opportunity. All you have do is avail yourself of it whatever your race is.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  113. Matt, Lancaster, NY

    The American Dream was a concept cooked up to attract immigrants and discourage Communist thought. However many amazing rags-to-riches stories we hear, the truth is most Americans will work hard all their life and not be that much better off than their parents. I'm not saying those born into the middle or poorer classes can't work their way up, I'm saying they probably won't when all they have to work with is whatever their parents can leave them. The American Dream is the exception rather than the rule.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  114. Steve

    Steve from St Louis

    So Jack what are you saying? Is this another knife in the heart of minorities that there is no reason to even try? I'm sure the rural country areas have good old boys, who work on cars, do odd jobs in their communities, dig holes to put up a fence for a farmer and any other type of job that can make a few bucks to support themselves and their families. Enough of the feel sorry for myself nonsense. Be like Nike! "just do it"!

    July 11, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  115. Bryant

    Race has everything to do with achieving anything remotely looking like the American Dream. Opportunities are not abundant and with any opportunity, we have always had to be 3 or 4 times as good as our white counterparts just to be considered. Sweeping this under the rug, just makes the mountain of opportunity that much harder to climb for black americans.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  116. Jim


    It's probably a lot tougher if your race is not Caucasian which, interestingly, would have left Jesus, an African, out in the cold.

    Reno, American

    July 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  117. sharon

    First, lets make it easy for everyone to particpate in this election (VOTE) then we can answer your question regarding race...........................

    July 11, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  118. zettrane

    What whites in America fail to accept is that this nation was built to promote their growth and social standing. America was built by slaves on European social and political beliefs, thus, it is easy to see why blacks and other minorities remain at a lower social standing. Once whites accept this simple truth, we as a nation can move forward together, granting eveyone true equality and a chance at the American Dream

    July 11, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  119. Bob

    I learned as a teenager the Catch 22 blacks face after my dad asked me "do I know any of your buddies that would like to work on the railroad, because if they can't find more people they're going to have to hire coloreds".

    July 11, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  120. Eric

    Race has nothing to do with achieving the American dream. Desire and determination are the only factors, and maybe the imagination to actually have a dream worth striving for. This was not true in the past, but today it is and anyone that believes their race is stopping them from succeeding is selling themselves short.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  121. John R. Johnson

    There is no "dream" for some Americans. It is a future full of police, prisons and poverty. For many the only opportunities lie in some thing deemed illegal. Most die young. This phenomena is well known as "The American Nightmare".

    July 11, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  122. Nick

    I feel that african americans and urban individual's as a whole are not given a fair shake bc they rely to much on government entitlement programs which take away the incentive to better one's self and community. Sad but true, I am an African American and an inner city worker in Detroit and these are the realities of city that has been killed by big politics.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  123. Al

    I think education is the key. I am Asian and a first generation American. My parents came here with little. Chinese was my first language and the only one spoke in the house. Education was and succeeding academically was pushed on my siblings and I throughout our upbringing. All three of us attended universities and now make more than our parents when they were our age. I'd say we were middle class, but we have family friends that were not whose kids ended up pretty successful. Valuing education makes a huge difference.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  124. Mike Mabry

    Race has nothing to do with achieving the American Dream. But it does make it either easier or harder to achieve. If you really think about it, someone with the same educational, financial, or social background as someone of "color" odds are the most "Traditional" will have greater odds of acheiving the "American Dream". Those of us who are people of color will have to try to work harder and make better decisions than those who are trying to reach the same goals.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  125. Amory from New Jersey

    You are more likely to succeed as a minority or immigrant in the United States than pretty much anywhere else on Earth. You should feel privileged enough to be exist in this great country and have the opportunities that are available, no matter how easy or hard it is for you to achieve your goals. America is about hard work and believing. CNN is making this race issue a bigger issue than it is. This is a capitalist economy, so there will always be an existence of the super rich and the super poor, get over it. People who complain and blame the whites or the government or just losers in the game of life, figure it out and grow a pair, what you put in is what you get out.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  126. Laura from IL

    Race plays a major role in achieving the so-called American Dream –
    In the past it was overt, now its covert but ever present. Systemic racism has adversely affected generations of Africian Americans while whites with similar crendentials excelled not because they were better but because they were white. Affirmative action opened doors for some but that tiny little loophole dubbed "minority" gave white women an additional edge. Its been an uphill battle for us that continues...........but by the grace of God our Day Will Come!

    July 11, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  127. Dahlia Daure

    ...Not a darn thing!! I am from Jamica and I achieved the so called "american dream"  people just need to get up off their duffs  and forget about race and work hard and get a skill or a profession. Too many times we cry wolf" about racial disparities, yes it is present in the American society  but it is NOT a show stopper. I am black and a foreigner... I did it, my son did  it ,... why cant you?  It takes tremendous self sacrifice and hard work. Stop blaming the system....

    July 11, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  128. Vince

    It depends on what you believe the American dream is. The only things I truly want is freedom and equality. Those, in my opinion, are the most important American Concepts. Race has nothing to do with these concepts. Standard of living dreams are very much influenced by race in that those of color do not share a level playing ground with white people.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  129. Hector L. Del Valle

    Race should not be an issue in the dialogue on how to achieve the American Dream. Nevertheless, there are some details to address, being those: A meritocratic financial aid system for students at all levels,Ensuring that all races have EQUAL access to capital to spur entrepreneurship, and the equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. Hector L. Del Valle from Las Piedras, Puerto Rico

    July 11, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  130. Debbie From Colorado

    The group that call themselves the T party think they are the only ones that deserve the American Dream & they are all white.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  131. Sam

    Your're awesome Jack! What American Dream are we speaking of? Is that the same "dream" that has benefited only the filthy rich and been afforded only to federal government employees? The idea that "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer" never applied more than today. It's amazing how almost all, if not all, of the wealthiest people on the Forbes list had their net worth significantly increased since the, so called, 2008 economic collapse, while the middle and lower classes have been hit hard and, if still employed, had their salaries cut below the inflation rate. And oh btw, the middle incomers never get bailed out, and are expected to foot the bill for the lower class as well. This country is in deep demise, and it's time for people to wake up and realize that our "dream" has long been stolen from us by some greedy corporate bosses and politicians in Washington. Look out for many more Scranton's to happen in the very near future.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  132. Kimberly Delaney from San Diego, California

    Jack, President Obama may seem like an anomaly of a wealthy African American but I believe you're using the one-drop rule as he is only partially of African (black) descent. A phrase is often used in the black community referring to the economic disparities: when white America catches a cold (economically), black America gets pneumonia. :-/

    July 11, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  133. John

    After being forced, yes FORCED by Affirmative Action, to work with black people, I'd have to say it is EVERYONE's fault except for the black person that is given an unfair advantage in hiring, does a piss-poor job when hired, and demands everything be handed to it - NOT!!!

    Do black people really expect to become successful just by showing up and doing a minimal job?

    July 11, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  134. Edward Funn

    Edward Charlottesville VA
    Anyone that says race doesn't matter is white, on the outside or in. At my job, even with a black female GM, out of the last 20 hires for the departments I work, only 3 were black. People I work with (white people) say its because, and this is just a few of there reasons. "Well the black people do not want to work, they rather get free money instead." "They do not know how to speak, or dress when they come in. Their accents are just to ghetto" "Well if they had more training in whatever position they applied for we might hire them". Its not a in your face racism, its in the back of the mind when black and hispanics apply. Is there accent to heavy, are those clothes to thuggish, does he have enough training? When a White person with a "Ghetto accent" comes in, it isn't held against them. Or is they had tattoos or piercings neither are those. But let a brotha come in in anything other then a shirt and tie and they are judged harshly for it. We all have those lazy ignorant people in our race, but with blacks especially all others are judged upon this one interaction. This is just one thing that causes such problems, among others, is that most families that have land is cause of their grandparents, where as mine were lucky to get land they own. That is only because of the white lady my grandmother worked for loaning her the money, banks wouldn't. Cause of that more whites have property to put up to achieve loans and get more property. Just treat blacks and hispanics fare. DO NOT JUDGE THEM ON YOUR STANDARDS, judge them on human standards.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  135. Ricci Martin

    Race has always been an issues in this country and will reamin so. While the those we send to Washington support those that put more money in their pockets....All the while selling out those that voted for them. The rich will always get richer on the back of the working class sometimes despite race. African American have been on the low end of the ecomonic ladder for a long time and this is only an issue during an election year. The cost of higher education will soon be out of reach for African American. One of the only ways for African American level the playing field is slowly pushing the ablility to rise above and out of the economic status of their parents.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  136. J.J.

    All to often today it's the people who grew up in a time of racial segregation and superiority clauses who end up being the ones financially capable to make decisions which impact the masses. While many white races have had generations upon generations to accumulate wealth and materials to pass down to their following generations, people of color such as myself sometimes end up being the first educated members of their family and begin nearly from scratch. To factor in the amount of those making and enforcing laws which disproporitonalty affect people of color, whatever ability to be mobile in society today often times ends up controlled by white ruling society just as it has been since America was founded.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  137. Jim - Lompoc,ca

    Unfortunatly everything – as long as corporations, including the media and government agencies keep putting all of us in our proper boxes. We are all individuals not specific flavors.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  138. Reginald Walker

    Everything but the American way of life is not about the American Dream, any more. The reality is in America the only color that matters is green and how much of it you have. Since Corporations are now people and money is equal to speech, it is irony that the race that owns most of the corporations and possess most of the wealth are Caucasians. Well, life does go on and so must we because there is nothing new under the sun.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  139. Bob

    If a test was run where one classroom of blacks had the best teacher, computers, anything available the scores would still be extremely low. Hispanics would be much better, whites would be ok and Asians would be great. In other words in takes the parents and most of all the students have to WANT TO LEARN and blame everything in life on the past or newsmedia (CNN included) who only want to keep the race card going for ratings....P.S. bet this does not get on the air..

    July 11, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  140. Natalia Molina, Sedona, AZ

    Jack, I am a great fan of your segment and continue to be so. With respect to the Pew Charitable Trusts' study on the question on race and achieving the American Dream, I question where are the parents, the school administrators, the communities, and so forth in terms of inspiring our children? My parents are both immigrants from Central America and we lived very humbly, but they always inspired me to achieve greater than themselves. I did well in school. I attended undergraduate and graduate school on loans and scholarship and have done well for myself. We must all be mindful to inspire one another to achieve and meet and then exceed expectations. If we keep telling disenfranchised communities "born in poverty, die in poverty" entire communities will aspire to nothing more. If you dare to ignite a positive spark of "you can do better than this" and invest in that, positive change can result. It only takes a spark to get a fire going.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  141. J. Kirk

    The answer to your question is many faceted; beginning with a couple hundred years of unpaid labor, followed by 150 years of nder employment, and inferior educational opportunities. Add to this a layer of nequal access. Please rememember that the civil rights act is less than 50 years old.
    Wealth is multigenerational and cumulative. The fact that former generations of people of color were not only precluded from accumulating wealth, but through unpaid and underpaid labor, assisted whites in their accumulation of wealth, makes race a central issue in the problem.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  142. Debbie From Colorado

    The people that call themselves the T-Party think they are the only ones that deserve the American Dream & they are all white.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  143. Arica from Atlanta

    People don’t want to admit it in 2012, but race still plays a major role most aspects of life from applications to the way people are treated. The “American Dream” was created by and for White America. No one, except maybe some White Americans, is shocked that race has an effect on ones upward mobility, because the fight has always been a battle for minorities. The only reason the “American Dream” is even still being discussed is for the first time because many White Americans won’t achieve an ideal which previous generations have. Black Americans have known race was an issue since the first boat docked.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  144. Edward Funn Charlottesville VA

    Oh and just to make it clear, Obama is black, he might have a white mother, but he knows most see the black in him not the white. He understands his history. In contrast Adam West from FL is white. Both his parents are black but he doesn't relate to blacks in america nor does he want to. Him and Clarence Thomas can kiss it.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  145. Atul Chaudhary

    Let me try to understand this race phenomenon. Today (or yesterday's) poll said that 92% of African Americans support Pres Obama. If this is not racism then what is it? He is almost like Jesus figure. If he is so right then how come he only goes to fund raising at rich people's parties. Blacks have supported democrats for as long as you can remember so what is being done for their upliftment. Whether you like it or not, number one issue for blacks is single moms. These bums will ditch decent ladies after having kids, somebody else (government) to raise them on welfare. First of all, these poor women (bless their heart), will do anything to get their man (or sometimes a man) as they feel insecure. African American kids have the right to have same education and pursuit of happiness. As there aren't too many good male role models, they end up at wrong ends. Of course, discrimination is there against them or for that matter any other colored person but Asian communities are close knit societies which emphasizes on education, family etc so their children end up having higher education resulting in high paying jobs. Democrats have abused African Americans for so long because as soon as whatever I said is said by a leading republican, they are branded as racist, just for vote banks. African American community have tried Democrats for so long, they should give chance to other side as well and see. We are all created equally and US constitution guarantees every one a fair chance.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  146. Betty Burgan Lane

    My early experience formed my thoughts on this subject. I was 18 years old, top of my class, and some say fairly good looking for a multi cultured afro american. And my dad died when I was 14 years old. So i worked after school, until I finished high school. It was not that difficult for me, thank God I was energetic as a young woman. I went to a high school, that was one of the best in northern city at that time. It was a business school, and I knew I would not being going to college. So I wanted to be well prepared for the world of business, that i thought waited for me, an american girl. All my brothers had been in the service, four of them, and later on I married and my brother-in-laws, all five were veterans also. One had got killed in korea, and another had lost both legs during combat in the second world war. I applied at many small business in the downtown area, and the business area of my city, but was not even considered. I was a top student of my class of the year I graduated, had all kinds of 1st place certificates, and was placed high on the graduation scale of top students..Most people said I looked more white than black, but that did not help me land a job in small business. So I went to the State Government, City government, and county government, and the United states government, for applications. I took all the tests and scored high, and was immediately accepted into those government jobs. I worked as a machine bookkeeper for the city I lived in, and also the IRS, shortly after graduation. My mail box was full of applications, I was intelligent, energetic, and not too bad looking, but because of my culture, I was denied a job. We as black people are denied a chance to succeed, MLK must have meant, education is the key to understand why you are poor and cannot succeed in america if you are black.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  147. Name*Frank

    Race doesn't neccessarily play the biggest role in the American dream. I struggle dispute the facts cafferty however whites have always being richer than blacks and we all know that. The real problem is do blacks and other minorities believe in themselves and willing to do everything possible to compete with the white man or are they are going to sit back and make excuses. My overall point is I will put myself in a position to compete white man. Go to school, be outgoing, do everything to stay out of "trouble" work extremely hard outcompete my competitors. Take advantage of my natural gift. Go to the jails its more black's than any other race...way less whites than anyother race. You not giving urself a fair opportunity when you are in jail and building a record for the silliest things ever. Another thing is parenting and guardianship "Chicago" too much violence young brothers getting killed out there. Where are their parents? If all father's would take their sons of the streets and teach them.a thing or two. about loving their brothers as they love themselves. And lf someone would let black's know the odds have always being against us and it doesn't help when we shoot or kill one another a lot more to be talked about...................................but race isn't the biggest issue is how we as a race present ourselves. Race isn't ur biggest obstacles this is 2012

    July 11, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  148. marybeth, massachusetts

    A lot, unfortunately. We like to pay lip service to the Horatio Alger story, that anyone, even a kid born to the poorest of the poor, can become a multi-millionaire if he works hard. The reality is that if you're smart and poor (race factors into poverty too), your opportunities are often limited because you don't get the same education in K-12 that richer, white kids get. Your parent are poor, and lack the professional and social connections that help richer white kids. You might not have good role models, nobody in your family finished high school, let alone went to community college. Your schools are underfunded, so you don't get the education you need to make it in college, and you lack the connections necessary to get you into the right internships, the right jobs, and to be able to meet people who will mentor you and guide your career.

    That doesn't mean that all African Americans are doomed to poverty and low wage jobs, but it does mean that they face obstacles that richer white males never face and can't even imagine. To be a richer white male is to be priviledged every day, in all kinds of little ways that seem normal, ordinary, and that get taken for granted, so if African-Americans, women of all colors, Hispanics, and other minorities struggle to succeed, the assumption is that the others are lazy, stupid, expect the gov't to take care of them, etc. Yes, some make it, and good for them, but they're the exception, not the rule. Let's take a look at the last President, W. Bush. He was a C student who went to Yale (Yale!!!). I cannot imagine Yale accepting a female, African-American, or other minority student who had a C average. But when your father is an alumnus, and your family is well-connected, then the C average gets overlooked because of the connections this student has. Nor can I imagine that Mitt Romney would have done so well if it wasn't for his father's money, connections, and the connections Mitt himself made at prep school and later Harvard. Both of these men would say that they worked hard and if others can't make it, it's their fault, but the truth is that these two men came from priviledged backgrounds of great wealth and whose fathers had the necessary professional, political, familial, and social connections for their sons to succeed. So yes, race and even more so, your socio-economic background are terribly important.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  149. zettrane

    opportunity is the what the American dream is all about. Therefore, you can not tell me that a black kid from harlem has the same American dream(opportunity) as a white kid living on the upper east side of nyc.
    Race still plays a role and whites need to be honest with themselves and address it.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  150. Burbank

    I think it has to do a hell of a lot more about how many children people choose to produce than anything to do with race. Whites don't tend to go on having children even when they know they can't afford to support them. It's not rocket science why they remain poor!

    July 11, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  151. humtake

    Until we stop believing there is some fantasy dream world that we are supposed to strive to obtain, there will never be equality. Babies are born and grow up in a world where they are forced to understand that everything is about money, power, and status. If we lived in a country where the American dream was to Be Happy and have some pride in whatever you do, then you would start seeing a lot less struggling. Why does the study have to be about who is making more?? Why can't the study be about who is happier with their living situation than their parents? Sure, it sounds absurd now...but if that mentality were to one day become reality people would stop thinking that the only way to be happy is to make lots of money.

    Be happy with what you have. Be happy with the people in life who you love and love you back. Be happy with being able to live free. Wealth is relative. With some of the countries I've visited, those who think they live in poverty would be RUNNING back to their lives compared to the ghettos of Jamaica, Napoli, etc. And the part that makes it the most ludicrous of all is I've seen people who have to hunt their dinner be more happy with their life than I've seen a guy in an American "project" be as he is eating his McDonald's and texting a friend on his cell phone. True story. Don't ever deny the power of happiness and, most of all, NEVER place materialistic agendas over your own happiness.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  152. Daniel S.

    Race isn't the issue so much as the outdated ideals that so many people, majority and minority alike, still adhere to. I have worked with just about every race, personality, and religion under the sun and I honestly don't care so long as they can do their job wihtout making any of that an issue. To go further, this is a result of the flawed "PC" movement, where many people claim to be whatever-american, when it should be fairly clear that, with few exceptions, every citizen of the USA is American, period. Until people in general grasp that concept, we will continue to hear about "whites are this, blacks are that", etcetera ad nauseum.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  153. Laurie

    Maybe one day, we can learn from others.... and just refer to ourselves as "Americans" and work together for the common good rather than having to distinguish one from another.

    There is much more than "race" involved here.... There are cultures and generations of thought processes that lend to this. Look at graduation statistics... As much as one would love to blame something.... The blame falls on the parents. They are the ones responsible to teach, encourage, and support their kids. Not the schools... In my state, we spend $8000 a year on kids that don't speak English, and just $2500 a year per kid that does. You would think graduation statistics would reflect that.... but it doesn't.

    It all stems from what mamma and daddy teach.... Want a solution... Start there!

    July 11, 2012 at 5:52 pm |