Current Projects

Who is Afro-Latinx? Race, Place, & Sexuality

with Lisa Cacari StoneNancy LópezEdward D. Vargas

As scholars contest the boundaries of Latinidad, new dimensions of being and erased histories are problematizing our understandings of Latinx lives. For example, increased focus on the role of slavery and white supremacy in shaping Latin American societies helped inform the emergence of Afro-Latinidad as a particular social location within Latinidad. This sociopolitical category at its core challenges the erasure of African slavery and modern role of racism in Latin American societies. This social location is racially stigmatized and is often associated with skin color, hair texture, ethnicity and nationality (e.g. Panamanian, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Cuban). However, little is known as to what factors lead individuals to actually self-identify with Afro-Latinidad. Thus, we apply an intersectional, place-based frameworks to analyze what factors lead Blacks and Latinxs to self-identify as Afro-Latinx. We use data from the 2016 Collaborative Multiracial Post-election Survey (CMPS) (N=10,145) which asked Black (n= 3,154) and Latinx (n= 3,002) respondents if they identified as Afro-Latino, 11% answered yes. Given the multidimensionality of racialization, we tested the utility of street-race and variables of place and sexual and gender minoritization to disentangle the components of this marginalized social location. Street-race Black (44%), origins in Spanish-speaking Caribbean countries (5.5%), being transgender (43.5%), and medium tones (11.5%) are positively associated with self-identifying as Afro-Latinx. Being of Mexican origin (-13%), certain metropolitan and urban spaces, and having dark skin (-4.5%) reduce the likelihood of identifying as Afro-Latinx. These findings paint a complex picture of Afro-Latinidad and provide timely insights into the dialectical processes shaping social constructions. 

with Bárbara Gómez-Aguiñaga & Christopher William Rivera

Animosity and violence towards minority groups have been historically condoned and perpetuated by both government and dominant sectors of society. However, the 2016 presidential elections and consequent Trump Administration have dramatically increased the visibility and gravity of these repressive sociopolitical conditions. Studies investigating these sociopolitical landscapes have found effects on multiple political outcomes including minority electoral mobilization. However, less is known about how these environments influence the desire for unity across these groups. Thus, this study seeks to investigate this in the two largest racial/ethnic groups in the U.S.: Blacks and Latinxs. Utilizing the 2016 Collaborative Multi-racial Post-election Survey (CMPS) (N= 10,145) we test what factors influence Latinxs to be more likely to say Trump’s popularity has increased their desire for unity with Blacks. We find that discrimination, ideology, linked fate, and Afro-Latinidad have statistically significant relationships with increased desire for unity with Blacks, with the last two factors having the largest effects. Results indicate that the Trump Administration and the social hostility it foments provide a common ground for Black-Brown unity. These findings pose implications for scholars, policymakers, and those seeking to build grassroots social movements as Black-Brown unity can pose a credible challenge to current constellations of powers that place these groups at the margins.

Black Lives Matter Beyond Police Brutality: How Knowing & Supporting BLM Increases Support for Other Black Marginalized Groups

with Brooke Abrams

The emergence of the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM) ignited a new era of social upheaval that moved beyond the predominantly white-centered Occupy Movement. BLM was catalyzed by the killing of Black teenager Trayvon Martin by white vigilante George Zimmerman in 2012. While the mass-based movement started as a social media campaign, the highly-publicized increase in police murders led to the spread of BLM chapters with over thirty eight chapters organizing at the local level across the nation. Although BLM first focused on police violence against Black communities, the movement quickly expanded to address issues that affected Black people across a variety of domains and identities. Drawing on social movements, intersectionality, and class theories, we discuss how the BLM movement has affected support for other Black marginalized groups. We specifically look at support for LGBTQ Blacks, transgender Blacks, Black women, Black undocumented immigrants, and formerly incarcerated Black people. Utilizing the 2016 Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey (CMPS) (N=10,145) we test whether knowing about or supporting BLM affects the level of support of these other groups within the grander Black community. Our findings suggest that the Black Lives Matter movement has increased support for Black LGBTQ, transgender, women, undocumented immigrants, and formerly incarcerated people. These findings point to the importance of social movements in shifting or increasing support for marginalized communities beyond their initial points of origin.