Reeves cited an early 2009 poll that reported 59 percent of respondents believed in "the American Dream" because "I'm intelligent and work hard, so I should succeed."
"Those responses are similar to what I hear from my journalism students at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California," Reeves wrote. "They listen with barely concealed boredom to the-sky-is-falling dirges from guest lecturers. The usual comment after the speaker leaves the room: 'Doesn't he understand that we see change as the norm?'
"My students, frankly, are not much interested in history ... Instead, to gauge their prospects, they look ahead. Today they realize, among other things, that they are empowered by their knowledge of technological changes that scare their elders. And they are right to feel hopeful about this. Their ability to speak the language of this technology gives them the enhanced role that kids had on the Lower East Side of Manhattan a century ago. Those kids understood and spoke English. Their immigrant parents did not."