Colorful Reflections: Skin Tone, Reflected Race and Discrimination

Vanessa Gonlin

Does the amount of discrimination I perceive impact how I think strangers racialize me? Or vice versa? Bonilla-Silva’s Latin Americanization theory suggests Latinxs will be encompassed into the U.S. via a tri-racial system based on phenotype. Using the Texas Diversity Survey, I analyze the amount of discrimination Latinx, Blacks, and Whites perceive when they believe others do not see them as their self-identified race. I find lighter skinned Blacks are less likely to believe strangers see them as Black and darker skinned Latinxs are more likely to believe strangers see them as Latinx. Blacks who believe others see them as Black tend to report more discrimination, and Whites who believe others see them as White report less discrimination. However, lighter skinned Blacks report significantly more discrimination than medium skinned Blacks. Finally, skin tone is not significantly associated with discrimination for Latinxs or Whites, going against the theory of Latin Americanization.

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 Presented in Session 9. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions; Gender, Race, & Ethnicity