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News > World

Young Blacks and Latinos 'Not Buying What America's Selling'

  • Photo of a group of young Black men featured in

    Photo of a group of young Black men featured in "Heard, Not Judged: Insights Into The Talents, Realities and Needs Of Young Men Of Color." | Photo: MEE Productions

Published 24 May 2016

A new report shows low-income men of color between 18 and 24 don't buy into the corporate or government brand of the "American dream."

Young Black and Latino men are “not buying what America ‘selling,’” be it the American dream sold by the government or variation marketed by corporations, according to a new report that looks at their mental health and definition of success.

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The surveyed come from low-income families in inner-city neighborhoods and said they “feel trapped at the bottom of the ladder,” “can barely see beyond surviving” and experience trauma and high stress with “intensity.”

The market research firm that conducted that study, Motivational Educational Entertainment Productions, says it would like to develop digital resources for young Black and Latino men. Researchers found, however, that this demographic prefers face-to-face and community-based resources, suspicious of big brands that target them without understanding their needs, like Nike and Beats by Dre.

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The young men were “far more interested in caring for their family’s urgent needs and less interested in the heavily media-propagated material symbols of success,” says the report, that adds that the American Dream, which implies competition over wide access, “has instead become their nightmare.”

While media often paints poor young men of color as delinquents waiting for a welfare check, the report emphasizes that they “are not in search of a handout,” but are mostly preoccupied with providing for the basic needs of their families—and to be able to do so without living check-to-check is what they consider “thriving” in 2016.

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