Who is Hispanic? Hispanic Ethnic Identity among African Americans, Asian Americans, and Whites

Kate H. Choi, University of Texas at Austin
Arthur Sakamoto, University of Texas at Austin

Hispanics are now the largest minority group in America and their presence is likely to continue to expand. We investigate the role of racial identification on Hispanic ethnicity using the Current Population Surveys from 1994 to 2002. Despite a considerable history of Asian presence in Latin America, our results indicate that persons of Asian racial origins are substantially less likely than whites to identify as Hispanic even after controlling for relevant demographic characteristics such as Latin American nativity and parental Latin American nativity. By contrast, persons of African racial origins are usually similar to whites in their propensities to identify as Hispanic. These results may be interpreted in terms of differences in the social stratification of these racial groups and in terms of social psychological processes---including the looking-glass self, the presentational self, and segmented assimilation theory---that are involved in development and maintenance of ethnic identity in modern America.

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Presented in Session 133: Ethnicity, Race, and Demographic Change among Latinos