“Dream like the Whites”: Disjunctures in Racial Experiences and Interpretations of Low-Income First-Generation Students of Color and Their Parents

Rondini / Social Problems / September 2021

A burgeoning body of scholarship addresses how low-income first generation (LIFG) college students, across racial groups, navigate communication with their families about their experiences of class-based dissonance at socioeconomically elite institutions. Yet, there is scant corollary research addressing how LIFG students of color navigate communication with their families regarding experiences of racial dissonance and racism on campuses that are both socioeconomically elite and predominantly white. This study examines disjunctures in familial perceptions and interpretations regarding race and racism consequent to intergenerational educational mobility for LIFG students of color, whose parents are unlikely to have had analogous experiences of complete occupational and residential immersion in socioeconomically elite and predominantly white institutional environments. This work highlights an important gap in the academic literature on first-generation students at the intersections of race, class, parental educational attainment level, and immigration dynamics. Without a race-conscious analytic lens, class-based understandings of LIFG college students and their families remain incomplete.