More Than Brown: How Race and Skin Tone Matter for Latino Group Identity

25 October 2022, Version 1


The U.S. Census showed that the number of Latinos responding as some other race continues to increase. How can we more accurately measure racial identity among Latinos? Do Latinos’ self described race and/or skin color influence feelings of closeness with racial rather than ethnic groups? This article seeks to challenge the notion of Latinos as racially homogenous, what we call the browning effect, or as a racial category rather than an ethnic category to examine how racial identity and skin color may play a role in self-identification and group closeness. Using a survey of Puerto Ricans living in the United States conducted in 2020 by the Center for American Progress, we examine both racial self identification and skin color arguing for new racial categories that include mixed race options.



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