Black Latinos/Latinas: A Qualitative Analysis of the Overlooked Dichotomy Using the Cultural Selection and National Identity Theories

Kayla Mosquera


Black Latinos/Latinas in the United States have trouble fitting into “American” society. They share a culture and language with White Hispanics: yet, the race consciousness of America forces them to adopt a separate identity, the choice of which may be surprising for some. Self-identity varies greatly among this often misunderstood group, as Black Latinos/Latinas rarely acknowledge their undeniable African heritage. The deep-rooted history of the native Latin American countries has played a significant role in forming the many different concepts of race. Why do most Latinos/Latinas identify themselves as White? Are they ashamed of being Black in American society? This paper explores what it truly means to be a Black Latino/Latina by applying the National Identity Theory, which examines identity, and the Cultural Selection Theory, which embraces the complexity of cultural change. Thus, it is hypothesized in this study that by neglecting the fact that African history significantly helped to form Latin American culture and mentalities as to who is considered Black and under what circumstances, Black Latinos are hampered from accepting and celebrating their African identity. Utilizing data from primary and secondary sources collected through document and expert interviews, the validity of this hypothesis is affirmed by the substantive findings generated after the qualitative analysis.


African Latinos/Latinas; Black Latinos/Latinas; Race

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