Society & Culture

The Color of Aspiration: Are Latinos The Next Whites?

podcast April 19, 2024

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Are Latinos becoming the new whites, and what role does politics play in this ideological shift?

We talk to Political psychologist Efren Perez, a UCLA Professor of Political Science and Psychology, who holds a PhD from Duke University. His research focuses on race, ethnicity, politics, and society.

He recently wrote an article in Newsweek titled “Why the Politics of Republican Latinos Suggests They Want to be White.” In it, he argues that some Latinos view whiteness not as a race but as an ideology associated with power, privilege, and dominance.

In this episode, Professor Perez uses data and scientific analysis to explore the psychological and political factors that drive some Latinos to aspire to “whiteness.” Is it a survival mechanism or is it status-seeking? What are the long-term implications of this negotiation of identity?

This episode’s discussion promises to challenge everything you thought you knew about Latino identity in the U.S.

Episode Summary:

  • Perez on his recent Newsweek article and the concept of “ideological whiteness.”
  • Exploring Latino identity and the political landscape.
  • Impact of personality traits on political ideology among Latinos.
  • Latino Republicans and their alignment with conservative ideologies.
  • Discussion on how historical shifts have redefined racial categories.
  • Potential future of Latino identity and politics in the U.S.

Key Quotes: ❞

Efren on the potential transformation of Latino identity through political allegiances:

“Are you going to say, “I can acknowledge that’s my social position, but in order for me to get something better, I got to distance myself from these other groups?”

Efren on the interplay between internal group dynamics and external political pressures:

“We’ve been talking about Latinos and African Americans and other groups as if they sort of naturally belong together. They don’t.”

Efren on the Political Shifts in Latino Identity

“The main point is that the category of white has expanded and narrowed across the centuries. And we are living in a moment, awash in data where we can show you that it’s going through expansion right now.”

Efren on Racial and Political Dynamics

“Quit focusing on the outliers, visible as they may be, tempting as it may be, and focus your energy on organizing, mobilizing the two-thirds that are already convinced, but don’t have the time to vote, don’t have the time or resources to make their perspective felt.”

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