A powerful and challenging look at what “success” and belonging mean in America through the eyes of Latino high schoolers.
This book challenges dominant representations of the so-called American Dream, those “patriotic” narratives that focus on personal achievement as the way to become an American. This narrative misaligns with the lived experience of many first- and second-generation Latino immigrant youth who thrive because of the nurture of their loved ones. A story of social reproduction and change, The Succeeders illustrates how ideological struggles over who belongs in this country, who is valuable, and who is an American are worked out by young people through their ordinary acts of striving in school and caring for friends and family.
In this eye-opening book, Andrea Flores examines how ideological struggles over who belongs in this country, who is valued, and who is considered to be an American are worked out by young people through ordinary acts of striving in school and caring for friends and family. Through examining the experiences of everyday Latino high school students—some undocumented, some citizens, and some from families with mixed immigration status—Flores traces how these youth, in the college-access program Succeeders, leverage educational success toward national belonging for themselves and their families, friends, and communities. These young people come to redefine what it means to belong in the United States by both conforming to and contesting the myth of the American Dream rooted in individual betterment. Their efforts demonstrate that meaningful national belonging can be based in our actions of caring for others. Ultimately, The Succeeders emphasizes the vital role that immigrants play in strengthening the social fabric of society, helping communities everywhere to thrive.