The Latino/a American Dream

The Latino/a American Dream

The Latino/a American Dream

The Latino/a American Dream


The "American Dream" means many things to many people, but in general it can be said that it connects the idea of freedom to the opportunity for prosperity and upward social mobility.

Sandra L. Hanson and John K. White have joined together with a group of social scientists to explore the attitudes, experiences, and expectations of Latinos in their quest for the American Dream. The Latino/a American Dream asks many timely questions, including: how do Latino/as view the American Dream? Has the recent economic downturn affected their hopes of achieving the Dream? What about recent immigrants? What about Latina women?

The answers to these questions and more draw on sociology, political science, and history to paint a multifaceted portrait of Latino/a opportunity in America, both real and perceived.


This volume on Latino/as and the American Dream is part of a Dream sequence. Our earlier volume, The American Dream in the 21st Century (Temple University Press, 2011) examined the historic concept of the American Dream in the twenty-first century with a special focus on the Great Recession and the election of the first African American president. This book on Latino/as and the American Dream follows up on that volume by examining the newest immigrant group to pursue the American Dream— Latino/as. The story of the American Dream is a story of immigrants. In our earlier volume we argued that the Dream is an old Dream with roots in the American Revolution. It is a resilient Dream that continues to be a major component of American culture through times of slavery and times when women and blacks could not vote. Historian James Truslow Adams popularized the phrase “American Dream” and defined it as “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” (Adams 1941, 404). In spite of a major recession, our earlier volume showed that most Americans retain this sense of optimism and believe in the Dream and its values of freedom and equality of opportunity. Americans often mention things such as having a good family life, having quality health care, having educational opportunities, and being able to succeed in spite of one’s family background when they talk about the Dream. However, the nature of the Dream may be changing, and the idea that it is available to all who work hard is being questioned. One of the major conclusions in our look at The American Dream in the 21st Century was that the Dream is becoming less about wealth and more spiritual. Additionally, we concluded that there is not equity in opportunity of achieving the Dream as major divides by class, race/ethnicity, and gender continue on the American landscape.

If the story of the American Dream is a story of immigrants, then the story continues with the current immigration flow of Latino/as to the United . . .

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