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Journal Article

Who Is Black, White, or Mixed Race? How Skin Color, Status, and Nation Shape Racial Classification in Latin America

Edward Telles and Tianna Paschel
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 120, No. 3 (November 2014), pp. 864-907
DOI: 10.1086/679252
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/679252
Page Count: 44
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Who Is Black, White, or Mixed Race? How Skin Color, Status, and Nation Shape Racial Classification in Latin America
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Abstract

Comparative research on racial classification has often turned to Latin America, where race is thought to be particularly fluid. Using nationally representative data from the 2010 and 2012 America’s Barometer survey, the authors examine patterns of self-identification in four countries. National differences in the relation between skin color, socioeconomic status, and race were found. Skin color predicts race closely in Panama but loosely in the Dominican Republic. Moreover, despite the dominant belief that money whitens, the authors discover that status polarizes (Brazil), mestizoizes (Colombia), darkens (Dominican Republic), or has no effect (Panama). The results show that race is both physical and cultural, with country variations in racial schema that reflect specific historical and political trajectories.

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