Sociology Colloquium Series: Dr. Helen Marrow
Colloquia Title and Topic
“Skin Tone and Mexicans’ Perceptions of Discrimination in New Immigrant Destinations”
While prior research in “new” U.S. immigrant destinations suggests that the “context of reception” greeting Latino newcomers has worsened since 2005, no study has empirically operationalized the role of skin color within this shift. Here, we draw on an original, representative survey to examine skin tone’s influence on the types and sources of discrimination that N=500 Mexican immigrants living in metropolitan Atlanta and Philadelphia report experiencing, as well as on their typical behavioral responses. Even beyond demographic, socioeconomic, and immigration-specific controls, we find that darker skin tone is significantly associated with higher reports of racial and linguistic discrimination, higher reports of discrimination from U.S.-born Whites (but not also Blacks), and a greater tendency to struggle internally. Together, these results support the colorism literature’s key argument that skin tone is distinct from race, and offer new insights into how skin tone shapes the lived experiences of Mexican immigrants outside the Southwest.
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