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Ethnic Fluidity Among Hispanics Overtime

Tue, August 14, 2:30 to 3:30pm, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Floor: Level 100, 106AB


Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), I examine if Bonilla-Silva’s tri-racialism theory conforms to Hispanic ethnic identity change over time. This is a critical area to explore, especially since recent work suggests that racial and ethnic fluidity will continue to blur the long-standing white-black binary, as the Hispanic population continues to increase in the U.S. (Bonilla-Silva 2002). Drawing upon Bonilla-Silva’s tri-racialism perspective, I argue that Hispanic ethnic fluidity is influenced by racial identity and skin tone. The results suggest Asians are the most flexible racial category in Hispanic identity change, and that skin tone, rather than racial categories alone, influence Hispanic identity change over time. However, medium brown and light brown skin tones significantly affect Hispanic identity change only in the direction from Non-Hispanic to Hispanic. My analysis both support and contradict Bonilla-Silva’s framework. In short, argue that changes in Hispanic self-categorization over time are contingent on the race and skin tone of an individual, and discuss how the results impact future directions for the analysis of ethnic and racial identity changes in the social sciences