Task 2C: Equality in the USA

Task 2C asks you to discuss the issue of equality in the USA based on two statements. We will first outline the main points of each statement and then provide you with some points for a discussion of the topic.

Outlines

The first statement was delivered by Barack Obama, the USA President and states that the US respects the principle that all people- even a girl born in a poor family- have the same freedoms and chances to success both in the eyes of God and those of the state.

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Discussion

In order to discuss equality in America you need to take the two statements into account, which are by all means contradictory.

One the one hand, the political leader of the US, Barack Obama argues that America is still a land of opportunity regardless of one’s background:

“…when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American;” (ll. 1-2)

Note that his statement does acknowledge income inequality in the US, or the existence of the “bleakest poverty” (l. 1), yet argues for the existence of the chance equality all people have as American citizens to make the best of what they have.

This is an allusion to the concept of meritocracy, which refers to a society which acknowledges people’s values based on their work and achievements, and not on their connections or social status.

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