Date of Award

2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Sociology

First Advisor

Emilio Parrado

Abstract

Latinos are a large and growing population in the United States, which has prompted race and immigration scholars to theorize about Latinos’ chances at integration as well as their place in the U.S. racial hierarchy. Several researchers have argued that Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and other Latinos are reshaping or changing how race is understood in the country by rejecting common understandings of race in the U.S. I argue that by focusing on racial self-identification rather than on racial beliefs, these claims oversell the ability of Latinos to affect the U.S. racial hierarchy. Instead, I examine Latinos’ racial ideologies, which may be more indicative of a group’s impact on racial stratification, and how these ideologies are shaped by collective emotions in the U.S. In the following dissertation, I examine how collective emotions regarding space and race, language practices, Blackness, and immigration, shape the racial ideologies of Puerto Ricans and Dominicans. Data for the study are comprised of 42 semi-structured, in-depth interviews with Puerto Ricans and Dominicans in Central Florida. The interviews addressed respondents’ history of migration, knowledge of racialized terms in Spanish, and emotions concerning racially charged events in U.S. news, such as the Black Lives matter Movement and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. The findings show that Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, far from changing how race operates in the country, adopt collective emotions that are detrimental to marginalized groups, such as anger toward Black protestors in cases of alleged or confirmed police brutality. While respondents were more sympathetic to immigrants, there was a subset of respondents who aligned their feelings with those of collective fear and anxiety regarding immigration. These findings suggest that future research on race should analyze individuals’ racial ideologies, in addition to their racial self-identification. Further, these findings suggest future research should examine how, and under what conditions, racial and ethnic minorities propagate beliefs that perpetuate white dominance in the United States.

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