Meritocracy in American Society: Dream or Reality?

Throughout the entire course of political studies, a variety of new terms and concepts has been studied. However, it has been chosen to focus the research on meritocracy and whether American society can adopt it to improve the state of political and social affairs. In this essay, a reflection on the outlined topic will be presented within the context of American politics and social structures as well as the integration of Du Bois’ “Of the Coming of John” essay.

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Meritocracy is defined as a leadership system, in which only the talented and skillful rather than wealthy or privileged are chosen to move forward and contribute to progress. For some, such a structure of social and political systems seems fair since people are rewarded for their achievements and not their status. For others, meritocracy is a delusion that gives rise to greater inequality in society. Despite the fact that America is often called “the land of opportunities” and despite millions of people around the world wanting to come to the USA to live the American dream, the country is currently far behind from being called a true meritocracy that rewards citizens for their achievements.

The present political environment dictated by President Trump contributes to the struggles that citizens face when finding a rewarding job and retaining in their position due to discrimination in the workplace, harassment, unequal pay, and lost business opportunities. It is also important to mention that meritocracy is only a dream for America for now because it goes against the culture of entitlement that the younger generations seem to enjoy. The generational gap has contributed to the youth being extremely confident about their value in society while accusing the older generations of being responsible for a decline in the quality of life in the country. The United States is not a meritocracy because too many deserving people struggle to be valued while those who do not deserve it get celebrated and given new opportunities.

Ideas laid out in the essay “Of the Coming of John” correlate with the suggestion that America is far from being a meritocracy because of a great disconnect between the opportunities white and black people can access when pursuing education. The essay clearly shows that there is a tremendous gap in the treatment of white and people of color in the country; when a black man devotes himself to education and pursuing a career to help his community, the white man still becomes more accepted and valued due to privilege, which goes against all ideas of meritocracy. Du Bois wants to show that privilege is the key driver for people being accepted in society as well as being treated well when attending educational institutions. It is crucial to mention that despite the fact that the black man in the essay works hard and wants to become accomplished, his efforts to eliminate social injustices in his community are met with hostility.

Integrating “Of the Coming of John” in future research to explore the ideas of inequality and privilege that existed and continue to exist in American society will shed light on how the country has fostered an environment that values privilege over talent. As a political community, America is divided into camps that have different ideologies and cannot find common ground. It is essential to understand that meritocracy will never prevail unless the camps reach consensus and create a social and political environment, in which people get opportunities based on their talent and potential. Therefore, a question that will be used for future research is “How the American political community has fostered an environment in which meritocracy is not reality but a dream?”

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"Meritocracy in American Society: Dream or Reality?" StudyCorgi, 20 Dec. 2020,

1. StudyCorgi. "Meritocracy in American Society: Dream or Reality?" December 20, 2020.


StudyCorgi. "Meritocracy in American Society: Dream or Reality?" December 20, 2020.


StudyCorgi. 2020. "Meritocracy in American Society: Dream or Reality?" December 20, 2020.


StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Meritocracy in American Society: Dream or Reality'. 20 December.

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