Diversity among Latinos: How Observed Race Shapes Racial Preferences in Dating

Cynthia Feliciano, University of California, Irvine
Belinda Robnett, University of California, Irvine

Understanding how different dimensions of race relate to Latinos’ lived experiences may shed light on their assimilation trajectories. Existing research suggests that racial appearance influences Latinos’ socioeconomic outcomes through discrimination by others. However, researchers have not examined how Latinos’ observed race relates to their acceptance of other racial groups. Using a sample of over 6000 internet daters’ profiles, this study finds that Latinos who appear White are most likely to exclude Blacks and include Whites as possible dates while the opposite is true for those classified as Black. Latinos perceived as Latino fall somewhere in between “White” Latinos and “Black” Latinos in their acceptance of Blacks and Whites. Thus, neither interviewer classifications nor self-identifications of race alone can adequately assess the assimilation patterns of Latinos: those perceived as White may assimilate into Whiteness, those perceived as Black may assimilate into Blackness, while those perceived as Latino may maintain an in-between status.

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Presented in Session 207: Ethnicity, Pan-Ethnicity, and Race