Things That Matter

Latinos Face Discrimination From Other Latinos Almost As Much as Non-Latinos, New Study Reveals

A new poll from the Pew Research Center has revealed that many Latinos with a darker complexion feel they face discrimination from other Latinos almost as much as they do from non-Latinos. The data comes from a survey that was first conducted in March 2021, from what CNN describes as “a randomly selected sample of 3,375 Hispanic adults drawn from panels originally recruited using probability-based methods.”

Some more findings from the survey reveal:

41% of Latinos with darker skin report discrimination from other Latinos while 42% report discrimination from non-Latinos. In the context of Latinos with lighter skin, those numbers drop to 25% and 29%, respectively.

Roughly 33% of Latinos who were born outside of the United States say they’ve faced discrimination from other Latinos, while 40% say discrimination in the U.S. is similar to the place they were born.

Meanwhile, 23% of Latinos say they’ve been “criticized for speaking Spanish in public” while 20% say they’ve heard hurtful remarks directed at them. Almost all of the survey’s participants responded that they’ve heard their own family members and Latino friends make racially insensitive remarks or jokes.

According to the same CNN article:

“Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center, said the report highlights an aspect of the discrimination that Latinos in America face that has not been widely studied in the past. ‘The experiences of Latinos being discriminated against from within the group is not talked about as much,’ Gonzalez-Barrera said. ‘There’s not a lot of research, at least not something that you can point to.'”

The poll’s results support the idea of colorism as a major reason behind this discrimination. Maria Peña, the Library of Congress Hispanic media spokesperson, had this to say: “In the popular culture there’s still that belief — whether it’s subconscious or not — that if you marry someone lighter than you, you have a better chance for upward mobility.”

The accusations of colorism have only increased in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, where many Latinos with darker skin say that the biases of their lighter skin counterparts have only become more pronounced. “We have remained silent when our tias have encouraged us to partner with people who have lighter skin than we do so we can mejorar la raza (improve the race). We have hated ourselves for our skin color, hair texture, our curves and our accents,” reads a letter first published in The Miami Herald authored by leaders from a handful of anti-racist organizations.

Colorism remains a major issue not only in the Latino community but in the world at large, and this new study shows us that the problem remains.

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