Latino immigrants and the U.S. racial order: How and where do they fit in?

Reanne Frank, Ilana Redstone Akresh, Bo Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How do Latino immigrants in the United States understand existing racial categories? And how does the existing U.S. racial order influence this understanding? Using data from the New Immigrant Survey (NIS), our analysis points to changes in how the U.S. racial order might operate in the future. We find that most Latino immigrants recognize the advantages of a White racial designation when asked to self-identify, but wider society is not often accepting of this White expansion. Our findings suggest that relatively darker-skinned Latino immigrants experience skin-color-based discrimination in the realm of annual income. Furthermore, Latinos who are most integrated into the United States are the most likely to opt out of the existing U.S. racial categorization scheme. We predict that a racial boundary is forming around some Latino immigrants: those with darker skin and those who have more experience in the U.S. racial stratification system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-401
Number of pages24
JournalAmerican sociological review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Latinos
  • discrimination
  • immigrants
  • race/ethnicity
  • racial identification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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