Date of Graduation

7-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Sociology and Criminology

Advisor

Brandon Jackson

Committee Member

Juan José Bustamante

Second Committee Member

Justin Barnum

Keywords

Afro-Latinos, Black Latinos, Erasure, Ethnicity, Empowerment, Identity, Latinos, Race, Subgroups

Abstract

This study centers on the experiences of Afro-Latinos and how the racialization of Latino as a distinctly ‘brown’ identity—thereby excluding Blackness—shapes their identity and sense of belonging within Latino communities and spaces. Through in-depth interviews with eight Afro-Latinos, and using West and Fenstermaker’s (1995) work, ‘Doing Difference’, I find that the invisibility of Blackness, being categorized as Black, and therefore not Latino, and the negative meanings attached to Blackness may make it difficult for Afro-Latinos to come into their racial and ethnic identity and feel like they belong in Latino spaces. However, these experiences are also an important step to developing the awareness and language necessary for Afro-Latinos to discover a new way of doing race that allows them to embrace their identity and assert their belonging in the Latino community.

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