Presentation Type

Presentation

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Kuipers, Kathy

Faculty Mentor’s Department

Sociology

Abstract

This study examines the current meaning of the American Dream and how one’s racial identity is related to perceptions and definitions of this ideal. I argue that members of different racial and ethnic groups understand and define the American Dream in a different ways depending on societies impression of their race or ethnicity. Data was collected from the beginning of April 2017, through May 2017. Two focus groups, one made up of minority members, heavily Native American, and one of white members, were formed and asked questions related to the American Dream such as how they personally define the concept, how they believe it applies to them and to other members of their racial/ethnic group, and whether they believe this beloved philosophy, in both the traditional and their personal definitions, is attainable. I analyzed the discussion then cited quotes and themes when evaluating each focus group to draw conclusions about the American Dream as defined by minority and white Americans. Race was found to have a profound impact on participants’ beliefs about the American Dream, especially in how they defined this idea and weather they believe that it is accessible to themselves and their racial group. I expected that members of the minority group would be less likely to believe in the American Dream while white participants would be more likely to trust in this American ideology, but my focus groups yielded different results. In fact, through research it became clear that while both groups believed the American Dream to be tangible the main difference between minority and white Americans was how they chose to define this ideal. While white Americans prescribed to a more traditional definition, I found that minority Americans had formed definitions based less on monetary value and more on personal achievements.

Category

Social Sciences

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Apr 27th, 4:20 PM Apr 27th, 4:40 PM

Dreaming American Dreams: The American Dream as Related to Race and Ethnicity

UC 326

This study examines the current meaning of the American Dream and how one’s racial identity is related to perceptions and definitions of this ideal. I argue that members of different racial and ethnic groups understand and define the American Dream in a different ways depending on societies impression of their race or ethnicity. Data was collected from the beginning of April 2017, through May 2017. Two focus groups, one made up of minority members, heavily Native American, and one of white members, were formed and asked questions related to the American Dream such as how they personally define the concept, how they believe it applies to them and to other members of their racial/ethnic group, and whether they believe this beloved philosophy, in both the traditional and their personal definitions, is attainable. I analyzed the discussion then cited quotes and themes when evaluating each focus group to draw conclusions about the American Dream as defined by minority and white Americans. Race was found to have a profound impact on participants’ beliefs about the American Dream, especially in how they defined this idea and weather they believe that it is accessible to themselves and their racial group. I expected that members of the minority group would be less likely to believe in the American Dream while white participants would be more likely to trust in this American ideology, but my focus groups yielded different results. In fact, through research it became clear that while both groups believed the American Dream to be tangible the main difference between minority and white Americans was how they chose to define this ideal. While white Americans prescribed to a more traditional definition, I found that minority Americans had formed definitions based less on monetary value and more on personal achievements.