Belonging and Exclusion: Hispanics’ Perception and Responses to the Xenophobic Rhetoric Since the 2016 Presidential Campaign
Alvarado Betancourt, Lidia Saritza
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AbstractThe increase of xenophobic rhetoric in the United States since the presidential election has created a hostile social environment for Hispanics/Latino. Therefore, I wanted to learn how this was affecting them. In addition, I wanted to identify the factors that influence their perceptions and responses to prejudice to shed light on their ethnic experience in the United States.
To do this, I designed a study that included personal interviews, analysis of media coverage on Hispanics/Latino immigration and political issues, and review of scholarly literature on Hispanics/Latino marginalization. In addition, I used a Getting Respect: Responding to Stigma and Discrimination, study by Lamont, Michele; Moraes Silva, Graziella; Welburn, Jessica S.; Guetzkow, Josgua; Mizrachi, Nissim; Herzog, Hanna; Reis, Elisa, on United States and Brazilian Blacks racial experience as a guide for my analysis of Hispanics/Latino ethnic experience using their three dimensional framework of historical context, national repertoires and sense of groupness. Moreover, I compared their findings to my Hispanic/Latino respondents’ answers to learn the differences and similarities between the groups’ perceptions and responses to prejudice.
The results of the study revealed that my Hispanic/Latino respondents have a paradoxical ethnic experience in the United States. Historically they have been marginalized as outsiders and yet also welcome as laborers. National repertoires of membership gives Hispanic/Latino a sense of belonging. National repertoires of membership are narratives that imply inclusion based on shared values and attributes. Such as the United States is a multicultural country and hardworking, law abiding people are welcome. However, Hispanic/Latino also feel stigmatized as an ethnic group because their shared cultural heritage is not considered part of the U.S. For these reasons, their ethnic experience in some ways is similar to Lamont et al.’s United States and Brazilian Blacks respondents, but different in others.
My Hispanic/Latino respondents feel stigmatized and insulted by the current xenophobic rhetoric, but this does not diminish their attachment to the country. Rather, like Lamont et al.’s Black Brazilian respondents, national repertoires of membership make my respondents feel like they belong and shapes their perception of marginalization. Furthermore, my Hispanic/Latino respondents, like Lamont et al.’s United States and Brazilian Black respondents, reference national narratives of contribution and equality to assert their belonging. However, my respondents’ shared cultural heritage and stigmatization in the United States because of their ethno-racial identity reinforces their sense of groupness, like United States Blacks. The responses of my Hispanics/Latino participants suggest that their complex historical acceptance, repertoires of belonging, and sense of group identity shape their perception of disadvantage. Therefore, they respond to prejudice in idealistic ways that appeal to U.S. values of good citizenship. Consequently, my Hispanics/Latino respondents have a distinctive ethnic experience from that of United States and Brazilians Blacks, even though they experience similar patterns of prejudice.
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