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Racial Boundaries among Latinos: Evidence from Internet Daters'Racial Preferences

Cynthia Feliciano, Rennie Lee and Belinda Robnett
Social Problems
Vol. 58, No. 2 (May 2011), pp. 189-212
DOI: 10.1525/sp.2011.58.2.189
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/sp.2011.58.2.189
Page Count: 24
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Racial Boundaries among Latinos: Evidence from Internet Daters'Racial Preferences
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Abstract

How the growing Latino population fits into the U.S. racial structure is a subject of considerable debate.Are Latinos developing into a separate racial group, becoming part of the dominant group, or creating a panminority group with nonwhites? Extending beyond existing research that uses intermarriage or survey data to assess racial boundaries, this study examines Latinos' stated racial preferences for dates among a sample of over 4,000 Internet daters in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Atlanta. We find that few Latinos prefer to only date other Latinos. Latinos are much more likely to prefer to date whites than blacks, and are much more likely than blacks to prefer whites, suggesting that the Latino-white boundary is less rigid than Latino-black or blackwhite boundaries. However, Latinos are also much more likely to prefer blacks than whites are. Further analyses highlight differences in racial preferences among Latinos by metropolitan area, educational level, language, and religion. Greater proximity to blacks in New York and Atlanta promotes greater acceptance. In these locales, we see some indications of a panminority group of blacks and a small set of Latinos developing. While the majority of Latinos accept racial hierarchies that privilege whites, providing evidence that many are assimilating into the dominant group, assimilation patterns vary for different segments of the diverse Latino population.

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