Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Hispanics assimilating toward victim class


As you can see in the table, over the past four decades fewer and fewer GSS respondents of Mexican descent self-identify as white. In the 1970s, almost all Mex-Ams thought they were Caucasian. The drop could be due to fewer recent white Mexican immigrants and/or due to a reduced tendency to call oneself white.







This table shows that while the percent of blacks and "others" who are Hispanic is on the rise, the percent of whites who are Hispanic has stalled or is dropping.

Television programs and college ads in Mexico (see Steve Sailer's post) show that being white is popular there, but a recent study published in the American Sociological Review reported that as Hispanic immigrants spend more time in the U.S. and learn English, they are less and less likely to self-identify as white. The authors interpret this as immigrants encountering so much racism here, they begin to see themselves as Hispanic since the country won't let them be white. There could be some truth to the claim that America has a narrower definition of white than in Latin America, but I suspect that the finding also reflects that, while whiteness is popular in Latin American countries, being a person of color is popular here and carries with it financial benefits. (The study also shows that darker-skinned Hispanics earn less, and, of course, conclude that this proves racism, and, of course, fail to mention the possibility that skin color might be a rough indicator of genes that predict economic success).

I take the trend of turning away from whiteness as a sign that a majority of Hispanics are assimilating toward a victim class, rather than merging with the white majority. This squares with their consistent two-to-one voting for Democrats.

10 comments:

Jokah Macpherson said...

I would think that the Hispanics in the U.S. in the 1970's were much whiter on average than the ones who have immigrated here since.

C.O. Jones said...

Jokah - Correct. Before 1970, most of the Mexican Americans were immigrants from the northern part of Mexico or their descendants. Today most come states like Chiapas and Oaxaca. As a result, you have more "white" people in a place like Mexicali than you do in Los Angeles. Weird.

ironrailsironweights said...

Affirmative action is unlikely to be the reason why fewer Mexican-Americans are claiming to be white. Anyone of Hispanic origin is eligible for affirmative action benefits regardless of what race he or she claims to be.

There could be some truth to the claim that America has a narrower definition of white than in Latin America

Could be some truth??? America has by far the narrowest definition of "white" in the entire world.

Peter

Anonymous said...

@Peter:

Yes, in American society, if you're not 100% EUROPEAN-type Caucasian (note Arabs and Persians are also a Caucasian people) you're not considered white.

icr said...

Yes, in American society, if you're not 100% EUROPEAN-type Caucasian (note Arabs and Persians are also a Caucasian people) you're not considered white.

Sez who? There are populations of part-Amerindians in the South and border states which have been socially accepted and legally classified(during the Jim Crow era) as white for generations.

Anonymous said...

We need to ditch any Affirmative-Action-legal-status for anyone other than black-Americans who were descendants of slaves.


They are the only people who suffered systemic discrimination in the past. The Hispanics who migrated here did so out of their own free will and voilition. They shouldn't be getting any "set-asides", "quotas", or "preferences", or advantages in obtaining loans.


If they are unhappy here, they have a ethnic homeland to return to. I wish I had the same thing.

Steve Sailer said...

"Yes, in American society, if you're not 100% EUROPEAN-type Caucasian (note Arabs and Persians are also a Caucasian people) you're not considered white."

Is Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor of Indiana, considered not white? He's of Syrian descent.

When George Deukmejian twice defeated Tom Bradley for governor of California, I don't recall anybody saying there were two nonwhites in the race. It was always the white guy v. the black guy.

SFG said...

I always figured you were white if you were, you know, white-skinned...I never took this 'octoroon' stuff too seriously. Maybe I'm not from the South.

SFG said...

I always figured you were white if you were, you know, white-skinned...I never took this 'octoroon' stuff too seriously. Maybe I'm not from the South.

Anonymous said...

White has too many negative connotations for males. If I could get away with it I would call myself Hispanic.