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Cultural Differences to Obtain The American Dream

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As different cultural groups immigrated to the United States, they seeked for a better life and future for their family. When they arrive to the United States, they encountered racial discrimination and segregation. As a way to voice their concerns, artists created paintings and murals that proved their point of the unjust experiences. Artists such as Dana Chandler, Sung Ho Choi, and Jessica Sabogal, all shared a voice in their work, regarded the historical un justification to their cultural background in the United States.

During the 1950-60s, African Americans struggled for social justice to gain equal rights in the United States. After the abolishment of slavery after the Civil War, African Americans were still facing discrimination and racism. Artist Dana Chandler painted “400 More Years” in 1973 as a representation of the American flag captivating African Americans behind the flag’s stripes like a jail to prevent African Americans from fulfilling their dreams and goals. According to Chandler, the flag symbolized repression and “Euro-American genocidal practices”. Chandler also exclaimed that after four hundred years of suppression, African Americans will one day accomplish their goals and dreams. Not only did African Americans want to obtain the American Dream, but Asian Americans also wanted to obtain that dream when they immigrated to the United States.

Many Asians immigrated to the United States to have a better life and education for their children. A Koran artist Sung Ho Choi embodied that ideology and economic reasons through his mural American Pie. He used the theme of the American flag as a target that symbolized, “the ideological and economic forces that drew people from all over the world to the US, hoping for a better life for themselves and their children”. The Flag target was made on the ceiling of a public school in New York, made of clippings from newspapers of different languages based on documents of the daily lives of Asian immigrants experiencing diversity in the United States. After reanalyzing the pattern of clippings on the mural, Choi realized that each clipping emphasized the cultural diversity “as American as apple pie.” According to Kim, the circular mural represented a target and a pie chart that symbolized both a negative and positive perspective. The negative perspective was the disillusionment of immigrants wanting to obtain the American dream enforcing an entitlement. The positive perspective was Asians being able to obtain a piece of the pie, meaning they were able to gain the opportunity to start a new life, and that attracted immigrants in the first place to come to America as a form of affirmation and acceptance. Choi’s mural emphasized his point through the representation of the American flag, as other muralists created murals that expressed their American rights.

In 2018 in Salt Lake Utah, Jessica Sabogal created a mural called Este Barrio No Se Vende which meant “This Neighborhood is Not For Sale.” The mural features community activist Ella Mendoza, who Sabogal was inspired by after hearing Mendoza’s stories of her experience as an undocumented queer person in her community. Sabogal was fond of Medoza because she created her murals based on “revolutionary, powerful, brave and beautiful women”. In Mendoza’s community residents have experienced a rise in evictions due to the increase in rent and the increase of construction of unaffordable housing. The purpose of the mural is like a voice that speaks for their community that it is not for sale. The mural also contained symbolism regarding the maraca and feather and her body language. The maraca had a picture of a woman holding a flute and a backpack that symbolized labor and the feather was a gift by Native American Activists that symbolizes, “Mendoza and other indigenous people’s struggles to unite their nations and fight against pipelines, coal extraction and the abuse of Mother Earth”. Her body language also represented looking out into the distance which symbolizes her looking towards the future where she hopes her community will still be standing. The mural is empowering as it represents the voice of their community to let the American system know that there are people who are willing to stand up to protect their community. The art overall is like a voice that artists express in different forms.

Each of the paintings and murals have represented the struggles of different ethnic backgrounds in America. Some artists used the American flag as a symbol of America preventing people from accomplishing their American Dream. Chandler’s painting represented the American flag as a jail of segregation, but also contained the same idea as Choi where people who traveled to the United States had the American ideology. On the contrary, people who traveled to America were prevented from having a better future due to the discrimination of different cultural groups. In Sabogal’s mural, she did not use the American Flag but created a mural that voiced their concern for their community and to fight against the American system. Each culture probably experienced the same hardships regards to racism, discrimination, and suppression to obtain the American dream, but gave an opportunity for others in the future to not let the American system from preventing them from accomplishing their dreams and goals.

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Cultural Differences To Obtain The American Dream. (2022, April 29). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 18, 2022, from
“Cultural Differences To Obtain The American Dream.” GradesFixer, 29 Apr. 2022,
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