Discuss the vulnerability inherent in American life. According to the chapter ?Freedom and Vulnerability? by Potter, the freedom which Americans experience in relation to social status is also a burden. Because we reject ascribed status and emphasize that we can be and do anything we put our minds to, Americans feel personally responsible for their successes and failures as individuals. (Potter also claims that we suffer from the anxiety of knowing that we could face rejection, failure, and isolation.) We tend to deny or diminish the role that class, race, gender, and childhood experiences play in determining /influencing the course of our lives. Discuss a moment of success or failure in your own life and analyze the social challenges or privileges that influenced this outcome. Work to make explicit the ways that this outcome was not ONLY about you as an individual but was also the product of social forces and institutions. A successful essay will demonstrate that you have understood Potter?s argument and can apply these ideas of freedom and vulnerability in assessing an event in your own life experience.
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