90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
A Generation’s Changing American Dream

Young Americans still hitting economic and career headwinds, and how that’s changing their American Dream.

Two young people at a tea house in New York City. (j-No/Flickr)

Two young people at a tea house in New York City. (j-No/Flickr)

 

Everybody knows how tough it’s been for a generation of young Americans just hitting the workforce – or trying to – in the last half dozen years.  American twenty-somethings have walked straight into a wall of recession.  Been knocked back into parents’ homes and recalculations of what life will bring.

My guest today Jennifer Silva says that recalculation is deeper than you may understand – especially for low-income Americans.  Back on their heels and feeling betrayed, she says, they are redefining the American dream sharply downward.

This hour, On Point:  young Americans’ new dreams.

- Tom Ashbrook

 

Guests

Jennifer Silva, author of “Coming Up Short: Working-Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty” and sociologist at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Justin St. Germain, author of “Son of a Gun: A Memoir” and professor of creative non-fiction at the University of New Mexico. (@jstgerma)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Boston Globe: Jennifer Silva: Working-Class Youth Are ‘Privatizing happiness’ — “Silva, who is now at Harvard University on a postdoctoral fellowship, set out to talk with some of these young people about how they were managing the transition to adulthood in the post-industrial economy. In 100 in-depth, in-person interviews, she found a new working-class adult ‘bewildered in the labor market, betrayed by institutions, distrustful of love, disconnected from others, and committed to emotional growth.'”

The New York Times: Crumbling American Dreams — “My hometown — Port Clinton, Ohio, population 6,050 — was in the 1950s a passable embodiment of the American dream, a place that offered decent opportunity for the children of bankers and factory workers alike. But a half-century later, wealthy kids park BMW convertibles in the Port Clinton High School lot next to decrepit “junkers” in which homeless classmates live. The American dream has morphed into a split-screen American nightmare. And the story of this small town, and the divergent destinies of its children, turns out to be sadly representative of America.”

WBUR: Generation Stuck — “For the average twenty-something, it means feeling overqualified, underemployed, and overwhelmed. Stuck. Kat and Sam are two young people for whom the economic and psychological challenges of a generation have taken a very personal toll.”

Excerpt: “Coming Up Short” By Jennifer Silva

Excerpt: “Son Of A Gun” By Justin St. Germain

Excerpted from SON OF A GUN by Justin St. Germain.  Copyright © 2013 by Justin St. Germain. Excerpted by permission of Random House, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Mar 27, 2015
Rescue workers work on debris of the Germanwings jet at the crash site near Seyne-les-Alpes, France, Thursday, March 26, 2015. The co-pilot of the Germanwings jet barricaded himself in the cockpit and “intentionally” rammed the plane full speed into the French Alps, ignoring the captain’s frantic pounding on the cockpit door and the screams of terror from passengers, a prosecutor said Thursday. (AP)

The co-pilot and the plane in the Alps? Ted Cruz announces 2016 bid. Heinz buys Kraft. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Mar 27, 2015
Members of  a November Project 'tribe' pause during a November 2014 workout. (Brogan Graham / Instagram)

Spring training. From easy-access yoga to outdoor exercise meet-ups, exercise plans you’ll want to do.

RECENT
SHOWS
Mar 27, 2015
Members of  a November Project 'tribe' pause during a November 2014 workout. (Brogan Graham / Instagram)

Spring training. From easy-access yoga to outdoor exercise meet-ups, exercise plans you’ll want to do.

 
Mar 27, 2015
Rescue workers work on debris of the Germanwings jet at the crash site near Seyne-les-Alpes, France, Thursday, March 26, 2015. The co-pilot of the Germanwings jet barricaded himself in the cockpit and “intentionally” rammed the plane full speed into the French Alps, ignoring the captain’s frantic pounding on the cockpit door and the screams of terror from passengers, a prosecutor said Thursday. (AP)

The co-pilot and the plane in the Alps? Ted Cruz announces 2016 bid. Heinz buys Kraft. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: March 27, 2015
Friday, Mar 27, 2015

More on the incessant email debate, plus some goats living their best lives and the sad allure of Manhattan’s shuttered Pommes Frites.

More »
Comment
 
Mobile Payments Offer Convenience If You Keep Your Email Safe
Thursday, Mar 26, 2015

Thinking about moving your wallet to your phone? You can! And maybe you should? But TechCrunch senior writer Josh Constine has a few things to tell you before you do.

More »
1 Comment
 
Using Technology To Get Your Kids Outside
Thursday, Mar 26, 2015

The latest and greatest — using apps to make natural exploration more fun for your kids.

More »
Comment