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Skin Tone and Mexicans’ Perceptions of Discrimination in New Immigrant Destinations

Friday, April 1, 2022 | 11:45 AM - 1:00 PM

Seigle Hall, 204
Harry & Susan Seigle Hall

Sociology Colloquium Series: Helen Marrow

While prior research in “new” U.S. immigrant destinations suggests that the “context of reception” greeting Latino newcomers has worsened since 2005, no study has empirically operationalized the role of skin color within this shift. Here, we draw on an original, representative survey to examine skin tone’s influence on the types and sources of discrimination that N=500 Mexican immigrants living in metropolitan Atlanta and Philadelphia report experiencing, as well as on their typical behavioral responses. Even beyond demographic, socioeconomic, and immigration-specific controls, we find that darker skin tone is significantly associated with higher reports of racial and linguistic discrimination, higher reports of discrimination from U.S.-born Whites (but not also Blacks), and a greater tendency to struggle internally. Together, these results support the colorism literature’s key argument that skin tone is distinct from race, and offer new insights into how skin tone shapes the lived experiences of Mexican immigrants outside the Southwest.

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Speaker Information
On Friday, April 1st, 2022, the Sociology Colloquium Series will feature Dr. Helen Marrow of Tufts University. Helen B. Marrow is a sociologist of immigration, race and ethnicity, social class, health, and inequality and social policy. Her work explores Latin Americans' incorporation trajectories and racial and ethnic identities in the United States and Europe, the impact of immigration on social life and race relations in the rural American South, variation in public bureaucracies' approaches to unauthorized immigration (especially in education, law enforcement, and health care), the relationship between immigrant-host contact, threat, trust, and civic engagement, and Americans' emigration aspirations. As an Associate Professor of Sociology at Tufts University, she teaches Introduction to Sociology, Qualitative Research Methods, and various courses on immigration, race/ethnicity, and Latinxs. For a more complete biography, a list of her research and publications, complete course descriptions, and information on how to request a letter of recommendation, feel free to visit helenmarrow.com.
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