Race and Identity in Hispanic America
The White, the Black, and the Brown
by Patricia Reid-Merritt and Michael S. Rodriguez
April 2020, 212pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6784-2
$49, £37, 43€, A67
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6785-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

In the Hispanic community, ethnic identity often trumps race as the primary mode of self-identity.

This book offers a historical and comparative overview of the evolution of racial classifications in the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

The Hispanicization of America is precipitating a paradigm shift in racial thinking in which race is no longer defined by distinct characteristics but rather is becoming synonymous with ethnic/cultural identity.

Traditionally, assimilation has been conceived of as a unidirectional and racialized phenomenon. Newly arrived immigrant groups or longstanding minority/indigenous populations were “Americanized” in confining their racial and ethnic natures to the private sphere and adopting, in the public sphere, the cultural mores, norms, and values of the dominant cultural/racial group. In contrast, the Hispanicization of America entails the horizontal assimilation of various groups from Spanish-speaking countries throughout the Western Hemisphere and Caribbean into a pan-ethnic, Hispanic/Latino identity that also challenges the privileged position of whiteness as the primary and exclusive referent for American identity.

Instead of focusing on one Hispanic group, ethnic identity, or region, this book chronicles the development of racial identity across the largest Hispanic groups throughout the United States.


  • Highlights distinct differences in perceptions of racial identity for members of the Hispanic community
  • Underscores the fluid and malleable nature of race through a comparative and historical review of the evolution of racial classifications
  • Explains why the Hispanicization of the United States constitutes a paradigm shift from traditional notions of racial identity formation
  • Documents how immigration to the United States from Spanish-speaking countries throughout the Western Hemisphere and Caribbean is creating the first truly Hispanic country by subsuming the national identities of immigrants to the pan-ethnic, Hispanic/Latino category
Patricia Reid-Merritt, DSW, is Distinguished Professor of Social Work and Africana Studies at Stockton University. She is editor of Race in America: How a Pseudoscientific Concept Shaped Human Interaction and A State-by-State History of Race and Racism in the United States.

Michael S. Rodriguez, PhD, is associate professor of political science and campus liaison, Washington internship program at Stockton University. He is author of "Race and the Quest for U.S. Citizenship: Birthright Restrictionism and American Constitutionalism" in Race in America: How a Pseudoscientific Concept Shaped Human Interaction.
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