Parsing Race and Blackness in Mexico

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Mexico, Social Science on 2014-10-30 16:02Z by Steven

Parsing Race and Blackness in Mexico

Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews
Volume 43, Number 6 (November 2014)
pages 816-820
DOI: 10.1177/0094306114553216a

Enid Logan, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Minnesota

Land of the Cosmic Race: Race Mixture, Racism, and Blackness in Mexico, by Christina A. Sue  Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2013. 234pp. $24.95 paper. ISBN: 9780199925506.

In Land of the Cosmic Race, Christina Sue offers an ambitious, data-rich ethnography set in the “blackest” area of Mexico: the port city of Veracruz. She asks how the local population understands and negotiates racial and national identity, and in particular, how they make sense of the tricky issue of blackness in Mexico. Sue is one of a comparatively small number of sociologists who study race relations in Latin America, as most scholarship in this area has come from the fields of anthropology and history. Though the study is grounded in Veracruz, Sue’s larger intent is to analyze racial dynamics in contemporary Mexico writ large.

Sue “centralizes the racial common sense” of Mexican mestizos, a population that she estimates to comprise up to 90 percent of the total (p. 6). Mestizo is a broad category including anyone of “mixed-race” ancestry: Spanish, indigenous, or African. And in large part because Mexico defines itself as a mestizo nation, almost everyone in Mexico identifies as mestizo as well. Within the broad racial category of mestizo, Sue states, there are crucial distinctions of color, which are too often ignored. She sets out to analyze these distinctions in her study.

She writes that Mexican mestizos negotiate the dynamics of race and color in “an ideological terrain littered with contradiction” (p. 18). While elite ideology asserts that racism in Mexico is non-existent, implies that there are no blacks in Mexico, and is officially celebratory of race-mixing (or mestizaje), the lived experiences of most Mexicans, Sue claims, are “replete” with contradictory attitudes and events (p. 5). Sue uncovers in her research a general distaste for intercolor relationships from the point of view of those whose racial capital they would degrade, a clear aesthetic preference for whiteness, and a wealth of strongly-held negative beliefs about blacks and…

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“At This Defining Moment”: Barack Obama’s Presidential Candidacy and the New Politics of Race

Posted in Barack Obama, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2012-11-14 17:41Z by Steven

“At This Defining Moment”: Barack Obama’s Presidential Candidacy and the New Politics of Race

New York University Press
October 2011
229 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9780814752975
Paperback ISBN: 9780814752982

Enid Lynette Logan, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

In January 2009, Barack Obama became the 44th president of the United States.  In the weeks and months following the election, as in those that preceded it, countless social observers from across the ideological spectrum commented upon the cultural, social and political significance of “the Obama phenomenon.” In “At this Defining Moment,” Enid Logan provides a nuanced analysis framed by innovative theoretical insights to explore how Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy both reflected and shaped the dynamics of race in the contemporary United States.

Using the 2008 election as a case study of U.S. race relations,  and based on a wealth of empirical data that includes an analysis of over 1,500 newspaper articles, blog postings, and other forms of public speech collected over a 3 year period, Logan claims that while race played a central role in the 2008 election, it was in several respects different from the past. Logan ultimately concludes that while the selection of an individual African American man as president does not mean that racism is dead in the contemporary United States, we must also think creatively and expansively about what the election does mean for the nation and for the evolving contours of race in the 21st century.  


  • Acknowledgments
  • 1. Introduction: The Landscape of Race in the 21st Century
  • 2. Post-race American Triumphalism and the Entrenchment of Colorblind Racial Ideology
  • 3. Rooted in the Black Community but Not Limited to It: The Perils and Promises of the New Politics of Race
  • 4. Contesting Gender and Race in the 2008 Democratic Primary
  • 5. The Trope of Race in Obama’s America
  • 6. Asian and Latino Voters in the 2008 Election: The Politics of Color in the Racial Middle
  • 7. In Defense of the White Nation: The Modern Conservative Movement and the Discourse of Exclusionary Nationalism
  • 8. Racial Politics under the First Black President
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index
  • About the Author
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Social Status, Race, and the Timing of Marriage in Cuba’s First Constitutional Era, 1902-1940

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Social Science on 2010-12-07 14:32Z by Steven

Social Status, Race, and the Timing of Marriage in Cuba’s First Constitutional Era, 1902-1940

Journal of Family History
Volume 36, Number 1 (December 2010)
pages 52-71
DOI: 10.1177/0363199010389546

Enid Lynette Logan, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

This article examines the practice of marriage among whites, mestizos, blacks, Cubans, and Spaniards during the first constitutional era, focusing upon the reported ages of brides and grooms. The study consists of a quantitative examination of trends found in the records of 900 Catholic marriages celebrated in Havana during the opening decades of independence. The first major finding of the research is that according to most major indicators of status, age was negatively correlated with rank. Thus, contrary to the conclusions of studies conducted in many other contexts, those in the highest strata of society married younger. Furthermore, very significant differences were detected in the marital patterns of those identified as mixed-race and those labeled as black. This finding offers empirical weight to the notion that the early-mid twentieth-century Cuban racial structure would best be characterized as tripartite, rather than binary in nature.

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Good Question: Is Obama The First Black President?

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2010-06-28 00:44Z by Steven

Good Question: Is Obama The First Black President?

Good Question

Jason Derush, Reporter

You can’t turn on television or read a newspaper without seeing a reference to Sen. Barack Obama, the first black President. But wait a minute, said Naomi Banks, if Obama has a white mother, “My question is… why isn’t he the first biracial American President?” asked Banks.

“I think it’s more representative of reality,” she added. “It represents our country and how it’s changing with demographics.”

Banks said she has a special interest in the question, because she considers herself to be multiracial.

“My mother is Caucasian, my father is Native American and African-American,” she explained. “I’m proud of all aspects of my heritage,” said Banks, who said she couldn’t imagine leaving part of it out.

“I think of him as being an African-American of multiracial ancestry,” said Enid Logan, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Minnesota.

Logan’s team has been interviewing University of Minnesota students about their racial attitudes in relation to the candidacy of President-Elect Obama…

…”Is the black/white binary still the primary axis around which races relations in the U.S. revolve?” asked Logan. “I think for the most part it absolutely is.”

Logan said that people feel a need to label others in terms of race, because along with gender, race is one way that American society has been historically organized. It’s a shortcut.

“It’s a society that sees itself as colorblind, but race is important. And people feel disoriented if they can’t figure out what race other people are, they don’t know how to interact with them,” explained Logan…

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