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Editorial: Redefining the American Dream

A lot has been said about today’s generation—the Millennials.  While we’re America’s most racially diverse generation, we’ve also forged a reputation of being lazy, unmotivated, unemployable, and extremely in debt. This has led to a major shift in social norms, and a virtual abandonment of the traditional ‘American Dream.’

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The times are changing. In a Pew Research survey, people of this generation were asked what they value most. Only 30% valued having a successful marriage, and 15% having a high paying career. About 26% of Millennials are not affiliated with any religion.

The previous American Dream of having a two-parent household in the suburbs with a handful of children is growing progressively out of date. More women are graduating from universities and heading their own household while the marriage rate subsequently sinks. It seems young adults are putting traditional values to the side in favor of a more manageable lifestyle.

Racial diversity is also not just accepted, but becoming celebrated in society, demonstrated by a rise in interracial families and children. The American Dream is truly applicable to all Americans, regardless of race. It’s worth noting, especially in California, where Hispanic people have recently become the majority population.

The influence is everywhere. Disney movies, which previously had reputations for depicting Caucasian princesses, now celebrate multicultural characters like The Princess and the Frog and Mulan. We have changed the role models we place in front of our children to reflect our changing racial demographic.

The previous American Dream is an idea that become stale and irrelevant to most of America’s youth a long time ago. The concept of working corporate jobs until you make it to the upper class has expired. This stale idea does not leave room for those of us who don’t want to be married by 30, have kids, or go to church on Sundays.

The new American Dream doesn’t necessarily feature a heterosexual couple, either. Another Pew survey reports that over 70% of people between 18 and 30 years of age believe that homosexuality should be accepted by society, while only 52% of Baby Boomers feel the same. In the 2012 Census report it was stated that over 110,000 children had same sex parents, nearly doubling from the 65,000 reported in 2000. Of the 1.6 million children adopted in 2012, 65,000 went to same sex couples.

Millennials have seen a rapid change in the world within the past 20-something years. They’ve grown up in the midst of two controversial wars, the Arab Spring, the recession, and the new domination of the Internet.

These changes have made an impact on the Millennials. They have seen governments fail, democracy falter, and have communicated with people all over the world. What they have seen can never be unseen, and the changes to the American Dream can never be reversed.

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