Racial Threat and White Opposition to Bilingual Education in Texas

Lynn M. Hempel, Julie A. Dowling, Jason D. Boardman, Christopher G. Ellison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study examines local contextual conditions that influence opposition to bilingual education among non-Hispanic Whites, net of individual-level characteristics. Data from the Texas Poll (N = 615) are used in conjunction with U.S. Census data to test five competing hypotheses using binomial and multinomial logistic regression models. Our results support a "racial threat" hypothesis, suggesting that increasing opposition to bilingual education among Whites corresponds to changes in the Hispanic population. We find opposition to bilingual education among non-Hispanic Whites to be most pronounced in areas with substantial growth in an already sizeable Hispanic population, and least pronounced in areas of high growth rates and historically low proportions of Hispanics. Importantly, our results highlight the relevance of the interaction between minority group size and minority growth rates in generating majority opposition to bilingual education programs in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-102
Number of pages18
JournalHispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 28 2013



  • Hispanics
  • bilingual education
  • population change
  • racial attitudes
  • racial threat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this