What I call Myself

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Title: What I call Myself Exploring Ethnic Identities and Selections of Ethnic Labels for Hispanic/Latino Second Generation Immigrants
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Duenas, Maria D.
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2010
Publication Date: 2010


Subjects / Keywords: Second Generation Immigrants
Ethnic Identity
Ethnic Labels
Racial and Ethnic Categorizations
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: In this thesis, I explore how young adult members of the so-called Hispanic/Latino ethnic group develop their ethnic self-identifications in the context of the government- and socially-created racial/ethnic categories. Through eleven in-depth interviews with second generation Hispanic/Latino immigrants between 18 and 25 years old, I identify four preferred self-identifications: pan-ethnic (ambivalently Hispanic instead of Latino), country-specific, situational labels and rejection of all racial and ethnic labels. Ethnic identity is formed and labels are selected primarily in relation to others, specifically: family (their connection to their native countries) and neighborhoods (racial/ethnic makeup, specifically Latin American presence).
Statement of Responsibility: by Maria D. Duenas
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2010
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Hernandez, Sarah

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Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2010 D8
System ID: NCFE004242:00001

Permanent Link:

Material Information

Title: What I call Myself Exploring Ethnic Identities and Selections of Ethnic Labels for Hispanic/Latino Second Generation Immigrants
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Duenas, Maria D.
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2010
Publication Date: 2010


Subjects / Keywords: Second Generation Immigrants
Ethnic Identity
Ethnic Labels
Racial and Ethnic Categorizations
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: In this thesis, I explore how young adult members of the so-called Hispanic/Latino ethnic group develop their ethnic self-identifications in the context of the government- and socially-created racial/ethnic categories. Through eleven in-depth interviews with second generation Hispanic/Latino immigrants between 18 and 25 years old, I identify four preferred self-identifications: pan-ethnic (ambivalently Hispanic instead of Latino), country-specific, situational labels and rejection of all racial and ethnic labels. Ethnic identity is formed and labels are selected primarily in relation to others, specifically: family (their connection to their native countries) and neighborhoods (racial/ethnic makeup, specifically Latin American presence).
Statement of Responsibility: by Maria D. Duenas
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2010
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Hernandez, Sarah

Record Information

Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2010 D8
System ID: NCFE004242:00001

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WHAT I CALL MYSELF: EXPLORING ETHNIC IDENTITIES AND SELECTIONS OF ETHNIC LABELS FOR HISPANIC/LATINO SECOND GENERATION IMMIGRANTS BY MARIA D. DUENAS A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida in partial fulf illment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Dr. Sarah Hernandez Sarasota, Florida May, 2010


ii Acknowledgements First, I must thank Dr. Sarah Hernandez, my Advisor and Thesis Sponsor. Thank you for your guidance, criticisms, generosity and kindness. You have been a large part of my college experience and I'm grateful to have been one of your studen ts. I want to extend my thanks also to the rest of the Sociology department: Dr. Chavella Pittman, Dr. David Brain, and Dr. Emily Fairchild for offering helpful comments throughout the thesis, funding my research and conference excursions and providing la sting lessons. Thanks to my participants for taking the time to share a part of yourselves with me. I immensely enjoyed hearing your thoughts and stories. To my family, thank you for always believing in me. I offer my most special appreciation to my mother for being the greatest teacher I've ever had. Finally, thank you to Michael for always lending an ear as I figured out how to write this thesis. You've taught me more about genuine human tenderness, compassion, warmth and love than I ever anticipated disc overing.


iii Preface This preface provides a space for me to explain why I chose my thesis topic, my own ethnic identity, and my self identifications before, during and after my thesis. Also, I explain my reasons for using "Hispanic/Latino" throughout the thesis as wel l as explore the biases that I'm aware of and present my approach to them. My interest in this research topic arose from confusion between the terms Hispanic and Latino. I did not understand why most people around me used Hispanic but the media and academ ic discourse tended to favor Latino. However, I did not spend much time thinking about the terms. I began thinking about the terms more as I conducted research for an independent study project on the role of laborers (the majority of whom were undocumented Hispanics/Latinos) in post Katrina New Orleans in January 2009. For this project, I read articles to learn how contractors and city officials poorly treated these workers As I learned more about their experiences, I encountered authors that labeled these workers as Hispanics or Latinos, Hispanics/Latinos combined, or by their countries of origin. Those who chose to call them by something other than Hispanic typically provided a blurb about why they chose to use that term. These short blurbs explaining the ir selected term, rather than clarify the histories of the terms, lead to more confusion for me. Authors provided a few sentences for their reasons, often stating that they did not want to enter the discourse but that, as an example, they viewed "Hispanic" as a problematic term and choose to use Latino instead. For that paper (and throughout my life prior to this thesis), I used the term Hispanic. I was not comfortable using the term Latino. It was not something I heard much throughout my life. I remember h earing the word occasionally used in the media


iv and when referring to Latin pop stars. Hispanic was the term that I was most familiar with what I selected in forms (or rather, the option available on most forms that I fit into), and what I would say I was. I would say that I am Hispanic and follow up with a description of my parents' countries of origin. I knew that Hispanic was not descriptive enough, thus the need to specify my parents' native countries. Additionally, people tended to be curious about my family origins, thus providing me this chance to specify. However, even this explanation did not feel completely accurate since I identify more with my mother's Colombian background than my father's Ecuadorian culture. Moreover, my hometown of North Lauder dale, FL and my semester abroad in Valencia, Spain in January April 2008 helpe d shape my identifications as a South Floridian and American, both of which I'm still exploring. Needless to say, this research project has changed the way I think about the ter ms. Furthermore, my own self identifications have shifted before, during and after this process. Of course, my understanding and awareness of the origins of the terms and of categorizations broadly have improved tremendously. Throughout my research, I did not make a decision on how I self identified. I took on Oboler's (1995:viii) approach of neither advocating nor renouncing ethnic labels. Rather, the aim to understand the role they play on the current but always changing (re)conceptualizations of ethnic d iversity and multiculturalism. Now that I have completed the project, I continue to identify with all of these terms depending on the context. However, I do not prefer to label myself as belonging to a race or ethnicity since I believe that it perpetuates the existence of the categories. While there is no biological basis for either, these socially created groupings and categorizations


v of people have inevitably led to stereotypes, prejudices and racism. Racial and ethnic categorizations have determined form al and informal American social stratification, creating differential treatment towards people in regards to: education, incomes, socializing, media representations and more (Smedley, 2007). Moreover, they are reflective of today's social inequalities, pow er dynamics and conceptualizations of race and ethnicity. Therefore, I would prefer not to label myself with any predetermined category such as Hispanic, Latino, or a country specific label. Nevertheless, I would use all the terms for political association s, personal and group benefits and/or for simplicity in interpersonal conversations. I do not take on the way the government groups and categorizes me. However, I live in place where everyone is grouped and certain groups maintain benefits while others hav e less. Therefore, the common terminology remains is difficult to escape in some situations. Also, I would use the categorizations in social movement contexts where the effort is to unite and empower minorities and people of color. Given my current self i dentification, the use of the combined "Hispanic/Latino" t hroughout this thesis may seem contradictory. I use the combined Hispanic/Latino" to identify the people that are categorized as such. When I use this, I intend it to be read within quotation marks around them, although the marks are omitted after this preface. The term should be read in two ways. The first meaning of the "Hispanic/Latino" term is read as "the so called Hispanic and/or Latino group," which refers to the common way that people are gr ouped and categorized. The second interpretation is read as "Hispanic, Latino, and/or something else," which is a way t o be inclusive of those who identify or prefer either term or another term altogether. If people identify with either the Hispanic


vi or Lat ino term, their choice should be respected. I use both Hispanic and Latino because I do not aim to tell people how they should identify, although I do not believe those who use only one of the terms want to either. Yet, since my topic is on personal self i dentifications, referring to this group with only one of the terms would ignore some people's preferred identifications. Admittedly, the use of the combined terms does not include those who prefer to be identified with a country specific identity. I could not find a way to include this preference while maintaining the first meaning. Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not mention that it is nearly impossible to not use the common terminology to describe the troubles with the terms. Throughout this thesis pr ocess, I tried to remain aware of my role as a researcher. All of us have certain reasons for being attracted to and interested in subjects and, in my case, the subject I'm studying is personal, because I am a second generation "Hispanic/Latino" immigrant All researchers carry their own perspectives which are constantly present throughout their work. Remaining objective throughout the project is an important effort to make in order to prevent bias from overtaking and steering the findings. The way I appr oached my bias is to pull myself away from my personal experiences. In order to observe and understand what is happening, I am required to step away and attempt to be less socially imbedded. During my research, there were times where the literature did and did not speak to my experiences. The approach I took to analysis was to not compare the scholarship to my own experiences. Rather, the goal was to understand the research in this field thus far. Additionally, being a researcher inherently separates one fr om being representative of most other people's experiences, who live rather than study whatever social phenomena one calls their "research topic."


vii Nonetheless, keeping this project completely devoid of myself would be an extreme step. Indeed, being a secon d generation immigrant will not automatically allow me to understand the complex dynamics of racial and ethnic experiences. However, my close connection to the topic does allow for a readily available list of experiences from which to pull. I have my own e xperiences where I have felt the push and pull of being multicultural, which is then categorized under an inexact label. These experiences provide immediate insight, even if they are personal. However, I take my own experiences and re categorize them as am ong the myriad of stories that Hispanic/Latino second generation immigrants can recount. Since the first steps of the thesis process were taken in February 2009, I have made sure to remind myself of my past experiences as well as critically examine what I was doing, what I was thinking and why. My final comment to you before you begin to read my thesis is to return to this preface once you have finished. Since I wrote and/or reread this chapter throughout my thesis the majority of what I explain here wil l make more sense once you have read through it.


viii Table of Contents Acknowledgements ................................................................................................... ii Preface .............................................................................................................. ....... iii Abstract .................................................................................................................... viii Chapter One: Introduction ...................................................................................... 1 Chapter Two: Literature Review .............................................................................. 7 Paths of Incorporation: Comparing European Immigrants and Post 1965 Immigrants .. ..................................................... ..................... 7 Symbolic Ethnicities: Optional Ethnicities ................................... 14 Comparing the First and Second Generations .............................. 16 Race, Ethnicity, Ethnic Identity and Ethnic Identity Development ............. 23 Racial and Ethnic Categorization: Ethnic Labels ............................ 28 Conclusion ............................................... ........................... 39 Chapter Three: Methodology .............................. ..................................................... 43 Interview Guide ............................................................................................ 49 Research Limitations .................................................................. ................... 52 Interviewing & Coding Procedures .............................................................. 53 Participant Profiles ........................................................................................ 55 Chapter Four: Results and Discussion ..................................................................... 61 Preferred Self Identification ......................................................................... 62 Deciding Between Terms ..................................... ........................................ 73 Differences Between the terms Hispanic and Latino ................................... 77 Location Matters: Neighborhoods ................................................................ 78


ix Current Political Envir onment for Hispanics/Latinos .................................. 80 Identity Salience ........................................................................................... 83 Ethnic Identity in Relation to Others ...................................... ...................... 84 Stages of Ethnic Identity ............................................................................... 85 Conclusion .................................................................................................... 88 Chapt er Five: Conclusion ......................................................................................... 89 Appendix One: Interview Guide ............................................................................... 92 Appendix Two: Participant Recr uitments (emails and flyers) .................................. 100 References ................................................................................................................. 102


viii WHAT I CALL MYSELF: EXPLORING ETHNIC IDENTITIES AND SELECTIONS OF ETHNIC LABELS FOR HISPANIC/LATINO SECOND GENERATION IMMIGRANTS Maria D. Duenas New College of Florida 2010 ABSTRACT In this thesis, I explore how young adult members of the so ca lled Hispanic/Latino ethnic group develop their ethnic self identifications in the context of the government and socially created racial/ethnic categories. Through eleven in depth interviews with second generation Hispanic/Latino immigrants between 18 and 25 years old, I identify four preferred self identifications: pan ethnic (ambivalently Hispanic instead of Latino), country specific, situational labels and rejection of all racial and ethnic labels. Ethnic identity is formed and labels are selected prima rily in relation to others, specifically: family (their connection to their native countries) and neighborhoods (racial/ethnic makeup, specifically Latin American presence). ____________________________ Sarah Hernandez Social Scien ces Division


1 Chapter One: Introduction We are routinely asked to define our race and/or ethnicity when filling out forms for job applications, school enrollment, new doctor visits and more. It's another bureaucratic practice that has become part of everyday life. Yet, this process, which seems as simple as checking a box, has the potential of causing uncertainty for immigrants and children of immigrants. People are assigned and classified under broad ethnic and racial terms even though they may not identify with these t erms. The ethnic and racial labels that these forms offer do not necessarily match the ethnic identities held by individuals. Therefore, the request to select a race and/or ethnicity is not as simple as the act of checking a box. This thesis examines how Hispanic/Latino second generation immigrants understand their ethnic identity under current U.S. pan ethnic labels. More specifically, I explore how does the second generation understand the pan ethnic labels of Hispanic and Latino in their lives and the w ay they experience and give meaning to ethnic identities in relation to present day ethnic and racial labels. The ethnic labels they choose are often times not straightforward, simple choices. Pan ethnic labels include people of diverse nationalities, cul tures, languages, and generations, among others, into one homogenous group and category. The terms Hispanic and Latino are examples of pan ethnic labels, through which recent immigrants (first generation) with temporary and permanent residences, children b orn in the United States to at least one immigrant parent (second generation), and third or later generations who are U.S born to U.S. born parents are grouped together into one identity (Kasinitz et al, 2008:2) Pan ethnic labels neither adequately reflec t these and other personal experiences


2 nor the complexities of identity. Song (2003:27) writes, "The homogenizing racialization of disparate ethnic identities and labels renders them largely synonymous and interchangeable." These labels suggest a commonali ty between these nationalities and groups of people, even if there may be few universal characteristics among them. The second generation experience both their parents' and U.S. cultures while choosing aspects of both cultures. Kasinitz et al (2008:21) ex plain, In other words, we believe that the ability to select the best traits from their immigrant parents and their native born peers yields distinct second generation advantages. Members of the second generation neither simply continue their parents' ways of doing things nor simply adopt native ways. Growing up in a different society from that of their parents, they know they must choose between immigrant and native ways of doing things. Sometimes they choose one, sometimes the other, and sometimes they tr y to combine the best of both worlds. They also sometimes create something wholly new. They do not always choose wisely or well. But they are more aware than most people that they have a choice. The second generation is in a unique position where they c an choose between the two cultures and form a personal, hybrid ethnic identity However, current ethnic categories do not reveal this combination of cultures. Broad ethnic terms such as Hispanic, a term created by the U.S. Census Bureau and disseminated by the government, do not encapsulate the second generation's experience of being bi or multi cultural. Even though meanings of pan ethnic terms are broad and nebulous, people do not simply skip the request to identify within a more specific category. Ins tead, individuals have distinct reasons for bubbling group A rather than group B, or vice versa. It is difficult to understand the complexities of identities via a checked box by one question on a form. Kasinitz et al (2008:67) writes, "Identity is situati onal, variable, and often hybrid. Survey questions do not capture the subtle differences between identifying as Puerto Rican versus Hispanic, or African American versus black, or Chinese versus Asian."


3 Certainly, there may be people who check a box and mov e onto the next question, but most individuals, regardless of race or ethnicity, have a reason for selecting one group rather than another. Kasinitz et al (2008:68) discusses the nature of identities and how the offered categories differ, It is fashionabl e in academic circles to talk of multiple identities, hybridity, multiraciality, and the fluid situational nature of ethnicity and identity. At the same time, our national Census and survey researchers are busy dividing the population in separate categorie s, measuring the type and intensity of their ethnic identity, and relating those measurements to such outcomes as education, family formation, and employment. One reason for these decisions to choose among the prescribed categories is that government and university researchers measure the relationship between racial and ethnic categories with outcomes such as educational attainment, employment, family structure, and health. These analyses inform public policy and hence affect the lives of individuals choos ing any of these identity boxes. Even though current categories are rigid, identity is flexible. These categories do not describe what it means to be a member of the racial or ethnic group. Song (2003:27) writes, "The flexibility and choice regarding the retention or discarding of certain cultural practices is largely confined to their personal lives." Individual identification is confined to personal life experience, yet confronts and is shaped by the larger social classification of races and ethnicitie s. The U.S. currently uses panethnic labels such as Hispanic and Latino to identify immigrants and their descendants who primarily speak Spanish and arrived from Central and South America, the Caribbean and Spain. However, since the definitions of these t erms are not widely known, their meanings can differ among individuals. For example,


4 when asked if he uses the word "Latino," a 24 year old Colombian American man responded (Kasinitz et al, 2008:77), Latino is like Puerto Rican or Dominican. That's what p eople think. Most people tend to think of Spanish people as dark, like Caribbean. I don't know why. I may be wrong. And that is not the way it is. People in South America are as white as any European. My skin is olive. When people ask me I say I am Spanish I speak Spanish with my parents. The meanings of these pan ethnic labels are not well understood among those who they classify. Therefore, the government and socially created pan ethnic terms can neither provide a good idea of individual's ethnic and racial identity or sense of belonging to particular ethnic and racial groups. How people develop their sense of belonging is important not only because it illustrates people's agency, but also because such identities affect individuals' well being. Song ( 2003:2) notes, The ability of groups to claim and re create their own self images and identities, against the backdrop of ethnic and racial labeling by the dominant society, is not only important in terms of self determination; it can also have important implications for people's self esteem and sense of well being. Furthermore, as we begin to recognize that race and ethnic relations are constantly changing structures as a result of changes in social interaction, it is important to understand how second g eneration people develop their ethnic identities and in the process also shift ethnic and racial relations in the U.S. Through this research, I contribute to our understanding of the process of negotiating between self made identity and the imposition of pan ethnic labels on second generation immigrants. I also illustrate ways these identities may be influencing the shape of ethnic and racial relations in the United States. Ethno racial categorizations contribute to how most people in the U.S. understand r ace relations and multiculturalism.


5 Understanding the complexity and fluidity of ethnic identity allows us to see how people slowly change conceptualizations of race and ethnicity in the U.S. This research project contributes to a topic that will remain re levant as immigration and globalization persists throughout the world. As a result of vast immigration, fusions of ethnicities and categorizations of people have emerged as another facet in the study of race and ethnicity. The second generation is an expa nding population that is playing an increasing role in economic, political and cultural life in the U.S. The second generation is a symbol of transnational cultures created by a vast immigration and a multicultural group that has the ability to mold and ch ange the future of the United States. The interest in the hybrid, dual cultures will continue due to the changing U.S. demographics. Understanding how the second generation combines U.S. and immigrant cultures while accepting or rejecting pan ethnic labels will reveal how multicultural people make sense of broad, homogenous pan ethnic labels. In the next chapter, I discuss previous studies that focus on immigrant assimilation, ethnic labels and ethnic identity research. I discuss how immigrant assimilation research emerged and the different ways scholars have theorized it and how it has changed socially and culturally. I then discuss studies of ethnic labels and include the history of the terms Hispanic and Latino as well as concepts of categorizing race an d ethnicity. In Chapter Three, I explain the methodology used for this research. Chapter Four explores the results and analysis of the data, which includes the details of the respondents' stories, trends and diversions. Chapter Five is the discussion of my findings, where I connect the literature review to the data. Finally, Chapter Six offers concluding


6 remarks, reiterating the take home concepts of the thesis, describing the practical application of those concepts as well as further research questions.


7 Chapter Two: Literature Review In this chapter, I explore the debates within two fields, Sociology of Immigration and Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, and add to the recently developing discourse that combines them. First, I provide an explanation of earl y European immigrant research and discuss the theories that emerged to understand these European immigrants and post 1965 immigrants. Then, I explain the emergence of symbolic ethnicities, which offers an explanation of individual agency challenging the so cial structure, how subsequent generations of early European immigrants understand their ethnicities today, and how their understandings may or may not be different to how post 1965 immigrant groups view their ethnicities. Next, I describe how the experien ce of incorporation into the U.S. is different for first and second generation immigrants. After that, I discuss the personal and interpersonal factors of creating an ethnic identity. I introduce some social psychological literature in an effort to achieve a macro and micro perspective. Finally, I provide the histories of the pan ethnic labels Hispanic and Latino. Paths of Incorporation: Comparing European Immigrants and Post 1965 Immigrants The first theories to emerge on immigrants aimed to understand t he experiences of European immigrants, mostly from Eastern and Southern Europe, who arrived to the United States during the late 1880s to early 1900s. These immigrants were treated poorly because they were considered of an inferior race (Waters, 1990). Yet the later generations of these immigrants and assimilated into society and eventually came to be considered white (Rubin, 2007). As a result of this process, scholars began to explore


8 how immigrants assimilated or acculturated into the white, upper midd le class society. These scholars developed several theories to make sense of this phenomenon. One of the first theories to emerge was the straight line assimilation theory (1945, associated with Warner and Srole), which states that each generation will inc rease its status as it further acculturates (Gans, 1996). This theory posits that immigrants can achieve a better social status through acculturation. The main critiques of this theory are that it does not account for: agency or personal choice in assimila ting nor the possibility of ethnic identity existing without in group participation. Moreover, complete assimilation is not possible for some immigrant groups. Immigrants can either maintain ethnic ties and/or not be completely accepted into the broader so ciety. The theory does not discuss those who decide to keep their ethnicity, rather than acculturate, or those that increase their status while maintaining their ethnic connections. As a response to what (and who) straight line assimilation theory neglect ed to explain, the theory of segmented assimilation emerged. The theory states that immigrants and their children typically fall into three patterns of adaptation: 1) increasing acculturation leading to assimilation into the white middle class, 2) downward trajectory and integration into the underclass and 3) economic progress through the maintenance of ethnic traits (Levitt and Waters, 2002). The factors that influence which of these patterns is followed include (Portes and Rumbaut, 2001:6): 1) The history of the immigrant first generation and the context of their reception 2) The differential pace of acculturation among parents and children, including the development of language gaps between them, and its bearing on normative integration and family cohesiveness 3) The cultural and economic barriers confronted by second generation youth in their quest for successful adaptation 4) The family and community resources for confronting these barriers


9 Segmented assimilation theory includes the acculturation of the second gene ration, indicating that parents' acceptance and acculturation affect their children. Moreover, children of immigrants are included in determining immigrant adaptation. T he Segmented model introduced the idea that immigrants might achieve economic and socia l mobility through retaining ethnic cultures and niches while straight line assimilation argues that acculturation leads to economic and social improvement The analyses of 19 th century immigrants were initially applied to post 1965 immigrants. Debates per sist on whether the experiences of these waves are different or the same. Some scholars argue that a larger proportion of more recent immigrants have darker phenotypes, hence will face more obstruction to their assimilation and will not be able to easily a ssimilate into white culture compared to European immigrants ( Gans, 1996; Rubin, 2007). Although attempts have been made to create assimilation models for immigrant groups, there are many examples of people for who these models do not account. There is now increasing evidence that there is no uniform linear process for later generation integration (Song, 2003). Nonetheless, the questions that were raised by European immigration are continuing to be asked but applied to post 1965 immigrants providing comparison and alternative approaches. These questions include: Can post 1965 immigrant generations become white? Must subsequent generations acculturate in order to be socially and economically successful or can they maintain their ethnic identities? Do i mmigrant generations eventually assimilate? The use of the "post 1965" label demarcating between European immigrants and today's immigrants was created by academics to distinguish between the immigration


10 waves. The designation is based on the Immigration Act of 1965 signed by Lyndon Johnson, which resulted in bringing more immigrants from the third world into the United States. These areas, such as Asia, had experienced hindered immigration to the U.S. The Center for Immigration Studies (1995) reports, Un der the old system, admission largely depended upon an immigrant's country of birth. Seventy percent of all immigrant slots were allotted to natives of just three countries United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany and went mostly unused, while there were lo ng waiting lists for the small number of visas available to those born in Italy, Greece, Poland, Portugal, and elsewhere in eastern and southern Europe. The law was created to end complaints of racial and ethnic discrimination in immigration policies. It limited the number of immigrants per hemisphere and created an equal quota of immigrant visas available for each country: 170,000 immigrants for Eastern Hemisphere: 120,000 for Western Hemisphere with 20,000 per country (Love Andrews, 2003). Creators of th e law did not anticipate the quotas to be used by Europe, Asia, and Middle East. The immigration bill was primarily enacted as a symbolic law, which arose from the Civil Rights Movement. However, the Center for Immigration Studies (1995) states, The unexp ected result has been one of the greatest waves of immigration in the nation's history more than 18 million legal immigrants since the law's passage, over triple the number admitted during the previous 30 years, as well as uncountable millions of illegal immigrants. The majority of these new immigrants came from Latin America and Asia in comparison to the immigrants who arrived from Europe in the late 1880s to early 1900s The pie charts below, Figure 1: Comparing Regions of Origin for 1901 1920 and 198 0 1993 Immigration Waves, illustrate the shift in the proportional representation from each group, specifying regions of origin.


11 Immigration from Europe moved from being 85% of the immigrants in 1901 1920 to being only 13% in 1980 1993. Meanwhile immig rants from Latin America in early 1900s represented only 3% of the immigrants, yet by the 1980s and 1990s, they were 43% of the immigrants. The racial and ethnic make up was very different, encouraging the development of new approaches to our understanding of both migration and racial and ethnic relations. In addition to straight line and segmented assimilation theories, the images of the United States as a melting pot, salad bowl, and kaleidoscope likewise tried in understand what was happening with racial and ethnic groups. The melting pot theory is the idea that a variety of diverse cultures and people "melt together," like a crucible, to compose the United States. An everyday example of the melting pot image is the foods brought to the United States by E uropean immigrants, such as pizza and hamburgers. Once considered


12 ethnic foods, they are now i ntegrated into American culture and perhaps are even considered staple American meals. However, the U.S. is no longer seen as a melting pot. This once idealized i mage is fading because it asserts the eventual lost of ethnic group characteristics and ethnic identities that did not always occur. The salad bowl idea arose in response, believing that each person maintains his/her own group identity rather merging into one group. In a salad, all parts keep their distinctiveness. Currently, the image of the kaleidoscope has emerged, presenting an image of the U.S. where some parts are maintained and others blend in together. The kaleidoscope image shows an attempt to res hape the United States in multicultural terms, revealing a possibility for both cultural mixture and distinctiveness. The straight line assimilation, segmented assimilation, melting pot, salad bowl, and kaleidoscope theories provide examples of paths first and later generations of immigrants could follow for incorporation. These theories characterize the chief debate between two schools of thought: assimilationists and pluralists. Assimilationists (straight line assimilation and melting pot theories) discus s acculturation of groups into majority culture because of structural pressures while cultural pluralists (segmented assimilation, salad bowl and kaleidoscope theories) desire the maintenance of group identities. On the assimilation literature, Portes and Zhou write (1993:82), As presented in innumerable academic and journalistic writings, the expectation is that the foreign born and their offspring will first acculturate and then seek entry and acceptance among the native born as a prerequisite for their social and economic advancement. Otherwise, they remain confined to the ranks of the ethnic lower and lower middle class. Assimilationists viewed ethnic group ties would be less important in the future (Waters, 1990). The cultural pluralist theories emerg ed when empirical evidence did not reflect


13 clear acculturation from immigrants thereby extending the discussion to include those immigrants and their descendents who maintain their ethnicity without sacrificing economic and social status. Similarly, these theories are part of the greater social scientific debate between social structure and agency. Straight line assimilation theory makes the argument that individuals must and will eventually acculturate in order to increase their status. The melting pot con tinues this idea by promoting a loss of ethnicity. Within these theories, the underlying assumption is that structures direct certain behaviors, which in this case would be acculturation. In contrast, segmented assimilation reminds us of those people who c hoose to maintain their ethnicities while improving socially and economically. Segmented assimilation theorists, who pay more attention to individual agency, recognize people's ability to sustain their ethnic identity and resist assimilation. Proponents of the salad bowl image also recognize this ability to resist assimilation. The kaleidoscope perspective mixes the previous two, recognizing that there is some melting of cultures while also there is the maintenance of distinctive characteristics This theor y provides space for structure and agency to work together to shape people's ethnic identities. In the analysis of these shifts in theoretical approaches, we see that the development of scholarly work on immigration and ethnic relations is closely related to the shifting character of immigration trends as well as their relationship to larger social changes, such as the Civil Rights movement. Theories evolved to discuss people's agency, expanding the paths of incorporation immigrants and their children coul d take.


14 Symbolic Ethnicity: Optional Ethnicities As a response to previous acculturation, racial and ethnic minorities have embraced a prideful position, which often left Whites, with and without connections to the early European immigrants, in an uncl ear position Minorities and immigrant groups are concerned about possible loss of their cultures and discrimination; hence, they emphasize their ethnic identities an d cultures. Alternatively, some whites are concerned about the rising number of minorities that could lead to whites eventually becoming the minority. Since so much attention has been given to minority group identities, some people can feel as though being American or White is bland, not unique, uninteresting and as lacking cultural identity. S ome Whites have begun to assert the ethnicities and nationalities of previous generations, thus seeking to regain a sense of uniqueness and cultural identity that prevents their sense of void. Furthermore, the assertion by Whites reignites the comparisons between early European and post 1965 immigrant groups, where the cultural traits can be maintained today, unlike in the earlier wave. Given the rise in popularity of Black and Women's Studies, there have been protests and petitions for the creation of "E uropean American" groups, clubs, and courses so Whites can too have a place in academia. These groups' intentions are often questioned for lacking a genuine curiosity for one's own ethnic ancestry and, instead, promoting a racist agenda. These gatherings c an possibly form into covers for being pro White and anti minority groups with less racist sounding names. Some argue that these people do not maintain the cultural practices of the group they claim to be a part of, thus further questioning the desire for a European American ethnicity. Song (2003), however, argues that one does not need to engage in cultural practices that would be culturally


15 distinct from other ethnic groups in order to identify with that culture. She provides the example of today's Armeni ans. As an effort to understand and embrace their heritages, some whites take on the ancestral backgrounds of family members before them. The common examples academic discourse provides are of today's Irish or Italian Americans who take pride in their anc estral backgrounds, yet do not engage in cultural practices observed in those nations. Debate arose when comparing the experiences of today's Irish Americans, Polish Americans or Italian Americans to African Americans or Hispanics/Latinos. While European i mmigrants faced racial and ethnic discrimination when they initially arrived, those who claim this identity today do not face discrimination since they are widely accepted in American society ( Portes and Zhou, 1993; Rubin, 2007). Therefore, the debate lie s in whether these ethnicities are the same; or, if there is any cost in asserting an ethnicity that is accepted as belonging to the White race. The term symbolic ethnicity emerged to describe this ethnicity, which is a leisurely ethnicity, where people c an engage in it if and when they want. Gans (Gans, 1979 in Waters, 2007) further clarifies, stating that symbolic ethnicity is an "ethnicity that is individualistic in nature and without real social cost for the individual." Symbolic ethnicity is a passive ethnicity where someone can choose to let influence his or her life. The approach presented by Gans has opened the space for us to explore whether non white minorities also possess ethnic options i nstead of ethnicity being a fixed characteristic that is assigned at birth and by blood heritage. Song (2003) argues that ethnic minorities do have some options. Ethnicity is situational and people carry a portfolio of ethnicities that they can choose from and employ with various audiences.


16 Song states that Blac ks have options because they can employ an Afro centric ethnicity, not only by learning about and emphasizing black history and thought but also visually displaying this ethnicity by taking on an African name, wearing dreads and more. Critics of this view, however, note that some may not have the option because other people assume their race and/or ethnicity, refusing to recognize them in a different light. Whether minorities can employ symbolic ethnicities is a debate that continues. The idea of symbolic ethnicity, however, does provide another example of how European immigrants and post 1965 immigrant groups are compared, leaving us wondering if the post 1965 immigrant groups will eventually assimilate or whether they will retain their ethnic identities t hrough various generations. Moreover, recognizing that minorities possess the ability to use symbolic ethnicities allows for another example of the role of agency in shaping racial relations. One way to begin to shed light into the debate regarding whether the post 1965 immigrant group assimilates or retains its identity, is to explore their generational differences. Comparing the First and Second Generations Within immigrant incorporation, the first, second, third and later generations have different expe riences that shape their ethnic identities and relationships to the U.S., including: language use, educational attainment, legal status and transnationalism. Family socialization is a large influence on the second generation, the largest generational group among Hispanics/Latinos. They ultimately choose whether to assert and strengthen their ethnic identities.


17 Second generation people are an emerging demographic today. Kasinitz et al (2008:1) report, The March 2005 Current Population Survey (CPS) reported that this new "second generation" accounted for one out of six 18 to 32 year olds in the nation and one out of four of all Americans under 18. In many ways, they will define how today's immigrant groups become tomorrow's American ethnic groups. In the process, they will not only reshape American racial and ethnic relations but define the character of American social, cultural, and political life. In regards to the Hispanic/Latino group, Fry and Passel (2009:i) write, "A majority (52%) of the nation's 16 million Hispanic children are now second generation.'" Additionally, they report that 22% of all children under 18 in the U.S. are Hispanic/Latino compared to 9% in 1980 (Fry and Passel, 2009:i). Figure 2 presents a pie chart showing the percent change s in first, second and third generation Hispanic/Latino children in 1980 and 2007, showing the increase in the number of second generation Hispanic/Latino children population. If for no other reason, engaging in research on the second generation is importa nt due to these large numbers. Figure 3 shows Hispanic children by generation between 1980 and 2007 and offers predictions between 2010 and 2025. The first generation, which grew up in one culture and later immigrated to the U.S., experienced a cultural sh ift that the second generation hasn't. When the first generation arrived to the U.S., they had to learn a new language, adjust to new foods, and, overall, figure out how to live in a new country. They encountered being labeled with the term Hispanic for th e first time. On first generation's transition from hometowns to broad U.S. labels, Portes and MacLeod write (1996:524), Now as then, an important characteristic of the process is that the symbols forged by American society seldom correspond to the self i dentities that immigrants themselves bring along (Glazer 1954). Nationalities were created in America for peasant newcomers whose original identities and loyalties did not go much beyond their local villages. In a similar vein, new identities have been att ached to


18 the present wave of immigration, re defining newcomers from many different countries as part of the same symbolic whole (Massey, 1993). Furthermore, the first generation must learn about race relations in the U.S., which may be vary from how race is conceptualized in their native countries. Portes and Zhou (1993:83) write, Prejudice is not intrinsic to a particular skin color or racial type, and, indeed, many immigrants never experienced it in their native lands. It is by virtue of moving into a new social environment, marked by different values and prejudices, that physical features become redefined as a handicap. The cultural lines between the two countries were distinct when the first generation initially arrived, and they later blurred as t hey assimilated.


19 Another distinction between these generations is their differences in English and Spanish fluency, education, and legal status (Fry and Passel, 2009). Language is an important marker for cultural difference for the second generatio n. Portes and Rumbaut (2001) argue that when the second generation abandons parents' language too quickly, parents lose authority over their children. Forty two percent (42%) of first generation children are not fluent in English compared to 21% for second generation and 5% for third generation. Table 1 provides data on the use of English and Spanish across first,


20 second, and third generations. Kasinitz et al (2008) argue that bilingual children do best academically, are less likely to drop out of school th an children who grew up in English dominant or English limited households. Learning English shows an attempt to integrate while refusing to demonstrates little desire to assimilate. Moreover, parents not teaching Spanish at home affect academic performance for their children. In reference to education attainment, parents of Hispanic/Latino of the third generation or higher are more educated than the first and second generations, with 85% completing high school and 55% completing at least some college educat ion (Fry and Passel, 2009). Legal status is another important difference that marks the generations. Pew Hispanic Center estimates 7% of Hispanic first and 1.5 generations children are unauthorized immigrants while four in ten second generation immigrants have at least one parent who is unauthorized. Being undocumented or having a parent that is undocumented are concerns the first and second generations deal with, although the third and later generations do not. Fry and Passel (2009:ii) write, "Most of thes e data reflect the classic pattern of socioeconomic immigrant families from one generation to the next." English and Spanish fluency, education attainment, and legal status are some of the variations between the generational groups. Furthermore, the variat ions provide dissimilar contexts of immigrant incorporation. It is now easier than ever before to communicate with and travel to immigrant home countries, allowing people of all generations to experience transnationalism. As such, immigrants and their chil dren could potentially refuse to incorporate into the U.S. society altogether (Kasinitz et al, 2008). The ease of communications allows for immigrants and children to maintain a dual loyalty (Kasinitz et al, 2008). However,


2 1 Kasinitz et al (2008) found that the increase of transnationalism did not necessarily reinforce ties to their homeland. When children visited (frequently or infrequently) or lived in the home country, they secured their identification with the United States. When they view the corruption limited economic opportunities, government inefficiencies and gender relation in their parents' native countries, the differences solidified their identity as an American and as New Yorkers (their study interviewed New York second generation immigrants). These children of immigrants play a different role in the country than their parents. They are a product of U.S. culture, having been educated in U.S schools under U.S. customs. The second generation is often portrayed as "partial" citizens even thou gh they are U.S. born (Kasinitz et al, 2008). Simultaneously, these children, by large, are


22 physically and emotionally attached to the United States However, Kasinitz et al (2008:1) have called the second generation "ambivalently American children," when d escribing the conflict between maintaining parents' cultures and assimilating. Parents worry whether their child will be accepted by society at large and whether the culture they grew up in will be learned and maintained by their children. Song (2003:24) d escribes this ethnic bind, "while they wish to establish themselves as bona fide Americans, they are also expected by the wider society to be authentically ethnic." Maintaining group identities while being viewed as Americans is a concern for every immigra nt group, where they struggle to ensure they are viewed and treated the same as other American citizens. Overall, Kasinitz et al (2008) report that the second generation is proud of their bicultural lives. Parents play an important part in instilling a po sitive or negative feeling of their ethnicity and creating strong ethnic identities in their children. Uma–a Taylor Bhanot, & Shin (2006) discuss the roles families play in defining adolescents' ethnic identities. In their study, they concluded that how f amilies socialize their children into their ethnic group is directly related to, and critical for, adolescents' ethnic identity. Moreover, family socialization appears to be important for ethnic identities across ethnic groups. Although family socializatio n is largely important, their children ultimately decide whether they want to explore and/or strengthen their ethnic identities. Clark, Kaufman and Pierce (1976) explore how acculturation and ethnic identity interact and affect Mexican American and Japanes e Americans of various generations in the San Francisco Bay area. The authors conclude that it is an individual's choice whether you want to include yourself more in American or in another ethnic culture. Individuals differ in how much


23 they identify with a particular ethnicity, how much they internalize it and act on norms and values they inherit from their parents and extended family. Possible explanations for why someone would exclude themselves from either one are: perceived discrimination, "sheltering" of the individual within the ethnic group, outside pressure to interact, and "acculturation level" of family and friends. Yet, agency remains an important factor in the acculturation process. Since they have a choice in their ethnic identities, one must w onder what may influence the way second generation immigrants think about their ethnic identities. The research so far points to the importance of life experiences across generations, which are marked with differences in language use, educational attainmen t, legal status and transnationalism. The second generation, the largest generational group among Hispanics/Latinos, exemplifies a conflict between preserving immigrant cultures and desiring to be viewed and treated as Americans. Family socialization plays a large role in the lives of the second generation, although the second generation ultimately chooses whether to assert and strengthen their ethnic identities. These factors not only provide examples of how the second generation is experiencing incorporat ion into the U.S. but also allow us to explore the reasons the second generation may maintain and strengthen their ethnic identities. Race, Ethnicity, Ethnic Identity and Ethnic Identity Development Ethnic identity is a topic discussed in the subsections of: Paths of Incorporation: Comparing European Immigrants and Post 1965 Immigrants, Symbolic Ethnicities: Optional Ethnicities, and Comparing the First and Second Generations. Ethnic identity


24 has its own scholarship, with explorations of what ethnic identi ty is and how it is developed. Before engaging in these discussions, race, ethnicity, identity and ethnic identity is defined broadly to understand the context in which ethnic identities are formed. Pierre Van Berghe's definitions of race and ethnicity pr ovide modern academic understandings of the two terms. He defines race as "socially defined on the basis of physical criteria" and ethnicity as "socially defined on the basis of cultural criteria" (in Song, 2003:10). These definitions serve as foundations for the understanding of how the literature currently frames ethnic identity. However, to understand how people identify both ethnically and racially, we must also delve into analyses of identities. Jeffrey Weeks' (Song, 2003) defines identity as, Identit y is about belonging, about what you have in common with some people and what differentiates you from others. At its most basic, it gives you a sense of personal location, the stable core to your individuality. But it is also about your social relationship s, your complex involvements with others. Evidently, identity is fundamentally hybrid and situational and forms an essential part of people's lives. People have a variety of identities from which they can pull and employ, depending on the context. Identit y serves two functions: expressive and instrumental. Given the politicized aspects of the various types of identities (such as: gender, sexual, religious, racial, and ethnic), they can fluctuate from reflecting the self to provide a political tool. Likewis e, ethnic identity is both personal and political (Song, 2003). Ethnic identity has gotten a lot of attention lately due to changing racial and ethnic landscapes (Song, 2003). According to Uma–a Taylor, Bhanot, & Shin (2006:390 paraphrased from Phinney, 1 996) "Ethnic identity refers to the degree to which individuals have explored their ethnicity, are clear about what their ethnic group


25 membership means to them, and identify with their ethnic group." Joanne Nagel (Song, 2003) provides another aspect of et hnic identity, The result of a dialectical process involving internal and external opinions and processes, as well as the individual's self identification and outsiders' ethnic designations i.e. what you think your ethnicity is, versus what they think yo ur ethnicity is. Personal ethnic identity is shaped by individual negotiating between personal conception of ethnic group, ethnic group membership and wider societal meanings (Song, 2003). The progression of ethnic identities is important to discuss sinc e my study focuses on college students, which is often a period of time where self exploration occurs Developmental approaches to ethnic identity explored the process of formation during adolescence and young adulthood. Phinney (1996) describes three stag es or levels of ethnic identity formation, listed in the Table 2. The first stage is where ethnicity has not been given much thought and it is not salient. In the first stage, ethnic identity has not been explored and people have an unclear understanding of it. They use the terms and definitions their parents use or what they have commonly heard to understand their ethnic identity. Phinney (1996:145) continues, Adolescents and young adults are assumed to progress over time from an unexamined or received view of their ethnicity based on attitudes of parents, communities, or society through a crisis or exploration phase, in which they immerse themselves in the history and culture of their group, to an achieved, secure sense of their ethnicity. People in this stage have vague and inarticulate understandings of their ethnic identity. Positive or negative identification of the ethnic group are created by parents, communities and stereotypes and then internalized. The second stage is a search or immersion period where individuals are deeply interested in knowing more about their group (Phinney, 1996:146). This period can be


26 encouraged by exposure to people from different backgrounds and possibly exposure to discrimination. Phinney (1996:147) writes, As mino rity group members explore the history of their group within the larger society, they become increasingly aware of racism and discrimination. This knowledge is often accompanied by feelings of anger toward the dominant group for past and present wrongs. College campuses can help students in this process of understanding their ethnic groups and promoting recognition of ethnic groups. People in the second stage tend to be more empathic of others in their ethnic group. In the third stage, minority indiv iduals grow to securely understand themselves as members of their ethnic group. Phinney (1996:147) writes, They feel secure in their own ethnicity and are assumed to hold a positive but realistic view of their own group. Although they are comfortable with their group membership, ethnicity may or may not be salient to them; other aspects of their lives may become more important.


27 They no longer have anger toward the majority group and are open to other groups. They are open to developing solidarity among mi norities to achieve common goals and improve intergroup relations. These stages or levels are not strict, sequential experiences that everyone encounters and individuals may return to earlier stages throughout their life when reexamining ethnicity. Moreov er, there is evidence that higher levels exist and are linked to progression of ethnic identities with age. The table serves more as a guide to the variety of ethnicities and processes adolescents and young adults go through. Phinney describes this variety The ego identity literature emphasizes the importance of a moratorium or crisis period in development, during which individuals reexamine and evaluate their childhood identifications and explore their own interests, abilities, and options. A secure iden tity is achieved only after one has thought through for oneself and made commitments in a variety of domains (e.g. ideology, occupation, lifestyle); these commitments then serve as a guide to future choices (1996:145). A similar model, the Cross' Racial Identity Attitude Scale, was created to operationalize racial identity among African Americans (Sellers et al, 2003). The model consists of four stages: pre encounter, encounter, immersion/emersion, and internalization. These stages list the same relations hips to own group and other groups as Phinney provides. Cross's model, however, separates the experience or moment that causes individuals to examine their racial identity into a separate stage while Phinney includes it in the moratorium or exploration sta ge. In regards to racial identity, Helms (1990) conducted research on White racial identity development where changes in demographics raise awareness of what it means to be White. White identities are different from minority racial/ethnic identities due t o race


28 relations and power. Whites confront these demographic changes, think about what it means to be White and attempt to create a non racist White racial identity. Phinney (1996:144) writes, "For ethnic minorities of color, identity formation has to do with developing an understanding and acceptance of one's own group in the face of lower status and prestige in society and the presence of stereotypes and racism." Meanwhile, forming a White racial identity means to explore what it means to be white, or po ssessing a predetermined privilege, while minorities reflect on what it means to not have such privilege. Race, ethnicity, identity and ethnic identity provide a foundation of the current views on these changing concepts. Ethnic identity is formed by indiv idual self exploration as well as understanding what the ethnicity means to others within and outside of their own ethnic group. Racial and Ethnic Categorization: Ethnic Labels Although biologically based races and ethnicities do not exist, the groupin gs are socially real. One way of seeing their presence in everyday life is by observing the way in which people are categorized and labeled. Racial and ethnic labels are commonplace, but are problematic in the way they assume homogeneity among those who ar e categorized as a group. I expand on the ways labeling is an issue of oversimplification of people. Then, I discuss how ethnic labels can be stigmatizing, which have lead social movements to emerge. Specifically, the term Latino was an effort by "Hispanic /Latino" activists to recast racial and ethnic labeling in their own terms and served as an alternative to the government created term Hispanic. Finally, I discuss how "Hispanics/Latinos" across


29 generations embrace these terms and then specifically discuss how the second generation makes sense of them. Marking your answer for the race, ethnicity or race/ethnicity question is just another item that you must fill out on forms along with your name. In fact, Oboler (1995) compares ethnic labels to names in the United States, stating they are a necessity in every day speech. However, the terms encompass a large amount of people. Members of an ethnic group differ greatly because of the differences in acculturation, generation of immigration, social class, and reg ional influences (Phinney, 1996). Due to these differences, it is difficult to describe and group people. I ndividuals differ greatly in how much they identify with others in their ethnic group and with the labels. According to Joan Nielsen (in Portes and M acLeod write, 1996:526), "States can actually create ethnic minorities through the straightforward device of treating some arbitrarily defined category of people as if they representing a real cultural and historical community." Individual experiences are generalized through broad categorization within the U.S. context. Ethnic and racial labeling oversimplifies how race and ethnicity are actually experienced (Song, 2003). Internal identity often times differs from the assigned categories, resulting in a con flict between external and internal identifications. Being assigned to a category cuts across all racial and ethnic groups. However, specifying to the Hispanics/Latinos, people have been given the classification of "Hispanic" rather than the term having been formed by the group itself, like Latino. Characteristics are then given to racial/ethnic groups in order to differentiate between groups although they may or may not be true. Hispanics/Latinos, like other minority groups, face inequalities, stereotype s stigmas, discrimination and more. The word


30 Hispanic reveals almost nothing about attitudes, behaviors, beliefs, race, religion, class or legal situation of people who are grouped under this term (Portes and MacLeod, 1996). Furthermore, the idea that all Hispanics/Latinos speak Spanish, are racially mestizo, Catholic and lower class is not necessarily true (Oboler, 1995). The only thing that is certain is that the person has heritage from an area originally colonized by Spain (Portes and MacLeod, 1996). As suming that a group of people has a common negative attribute, such as possessing limited English skills, turns the words into stigmatizing labels (Oboler, 1995). Stigmatizing labels make apparent that there are unequal, or exclusionary, practices in our s ociety and these labels are part of the movement of discrimination and privilege (Oboler, 1995). Ethnic labels have the power of becoming stigmatizing labels and reinforce the group's inferior status (Oboler, 1995) As developed earlier, ethnic identities are formed by what others think you are and how you are grouped. Likewise, minority group images and identities are shaped by interaction between assignment by the wider society and assertion of ethnicities made by the ethnic group (Song, 2003). Ethnic gr oups actively participate in changing the meanings and images associated with ethnic identities. Ethnic minorities have the power to shape the images associated with their ethnic group. Individuals respond differently to racism and racial assignment, where some may engage in misidentifying acts that disrupt the stereotypical assumptions people make about one another (Song, 2003). Social movements have emerged to take action to stop this discrimination from happening. Hispanics/Latinos attempt to forge a co nnection with each other in an effort to unite in social movements. Felix Padilla (Oboler, 1995:xix) has used the word "Latinismo" which is "the forging of unity among Latinos in the struggle for full


31 citizenship rights and social justice in the United Sta tes." Although Hispanics/Latinos have more or less accepted being labeled, they have become empowered by creating their own term, Latino. Scholars have argued that a unifying term(s) can push Latino social movements (Oboler, 1995). A unified group would al low them to take control over the imposed label and transform it in their own terms (Oboler, 1995). Some have argued that embracing pan ethnic identities provides strength in numbers when dealing with the host society, increasing solidarity and self assert ion. Moreover, others argue that embracing a Latino/Hispanic rather than national origin label makes a political statement of being a member of a racialized minority (Kasinitz et al, 2008). However, if lower class immigrants identify strongly with the pan ethnic label, those with superior socioeconomic status may use it instrumentally. Unlike Latino, the term Hispanic was invented in the 1970s by the U.S. Congress to describe the immigrants from Latin America, which came in waves during the 1960s (Oboler, 1995). Prior to the creation of the term Hispanic, immigrants from Latin America and their descendants were not grouped together. The term Hispanic was derived from Hispania, the roman name of the Iberian Peninsula. The label is based on Spain's presence a nd rule in the continent for over three hundred years and their consequent shared use of the Spanish language. Thus, the Spanish speaking countries in Latin America all share a common legacy of once having been colonized by Spain. The emphasis on the share d Spanish colonization ignores people of other ethnic backgrounds within these countries, such as indigenous and African, who do not necessary speak Spanish now nor during the period of Spanish colonization and reign. Furthermore, present day histories of these countries have been founded after (and, thus, celebrate)


32 achieving independence from Spain. Yet, the label Hispanic merges them into a one group along with people from Spain. Thus it treats "colonizer" and "colonized" as sharing a single racial/ethni c identity. Regarding the homogenizing effect of Hispanic, Oboler (1995:2) writes, In the current usage by the U.S. census, government agencies, social institutions, social scientists, the media, and the public at large, then, the ethnic label Hispanic ob scures rather than clarifies the varied social and political experiences in U.S. society of more than 23 million citizens, residents, refugees, and immigrants with ties to Caribbean and Central and South American countries. The use of this term hides the diversity in experiences within this group, such as the differences in language use, culture, educational attainment, legal status and transnationalism as discussed in the Paths of Incorporation subsection. Such differences shape the experience of incorpor ation of the various national origin groups encompassed by the term Hispanic (Oboler, 1995). Created as an alternative to the government imposed term Hispanic, the term Latino arose from activists and designates a person of Latin American origin living in the United States (Oboler, 1995). Similar to the term Hispanic, Latino homogenizes people who are very different under a broad umbrella term. The term Latino is more commonly used in the west coast (where the movement for this term began) while Hispanic is more commonly used in the east coast (Oboler, 1995). Passel and Taylor (2009) report that among adults, 36% prefer the term "Hispanic," 21% prefer the term "Latino" and the rest have no preference. The U.S. Census has changing classifications and categor ies regarding race and/or ethnicity. Blacks/African Americans have a well known history of changing census terminology according to socio historical context. For instance, their labels have moved


33 from Colored, Negro, Black, and African Americans. Similarly Latino and "of Spanish origin" joined Hispanic on Census forms as a way to capture those who identify as such. Furthermore, this group was once considered a race and now it is called an ethnicity. On, the Census provides an explanation of sepa rating race and ethnicity for Hispanics/Latinos (U.S. Census Bureau, 2008a), People of Hispanic origin may be of any race and should answer the question on race by marking one or more race categories shown on the questionnaire, including White, Black or Af rican American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and Some Other Race. Hispanics are asked to indicate their origin in the question on Hispanic origin, not in the question on race, because in the federal st atistical system ethnic origin is considered to be a separate concept from race. Yet, for some members of this category, race and ethnicity are often synonymous and their identities often times do not distinguish between race and ethnicity (Tovar and Feli ciano, 2009).


34 Hispanics/Latinos have a hard time selecting a race and use the terms Hispanic/Latino, their nationality or parents' home country as a race. National origin seems to be the easiest way to identify for Hispanics/Latinos (Passel and Taylor 2009; Brodiem et al 2002; Kasinitz et al, 2008). In a 2006 survey, Pew Hispanic Center (Passel and Taylor 2009) found that Hispanic/Latino adults described themselves by country of origin first (48%). Latino or Hispanic was used first by 26% of particip ants and 24% used American first. Table 3 provides data on the first or only terms Hispanic/Latinos use to self identify, separated by generation. Respondent's or parent's country of origin is the first term used by 54% of Latinos of all generations. The f irst generation is more likely to use a country specific label (68%) than the second (38%) and third or later (21%) generations. Table 4 lists terms they would ever use. Country of origin and Hispanic/Latino are the most used terms (88% and 81% say they u se the labels, respectively). However, the use of the term American is not clearly used; 53% say they use it to self identify while 46% say they do not. In both tables, we see that country of origin is preferred. Also, it appears that the push to maintain the national identity of counties of origin is less of a concern in subsequent generations. Clearly, generation trends continue where the second (85%) and third (97%) generations are more likely to use American as an identity at some point in their daily l ives than the first generation (32%). The second (82%) and third (66%) generations are also less likely to use country specific identities compared to first generation (95%). The use of pan ethnic labels goes down with the generations, from 85% for the fir st, 77% for the second, and 72% for the third generations.


35 Selecting a race is likewise difficult for Hispanics/Latinos. Kasinitz et al (2008) explain that their second generation participants of varying races and ethnicities were told to classify the mselves by race in terms of the Census. They (2008:70) found, "Overall, Russians, native blacks, and native whites gave the most consistent response about their race. The Hispanic groups gave the least consistent responses." Their study focused on three gr oups who have the highest presence in New York City (in order of highest to lowest population): Dominicans, Puerto Ricans and South Americans (which includes Colombians, Ecuadorians and Peruvians). South Americans had highest percentage of identifying as H ispanic with 37% compared to 34% of Dominicans. Puerto Ricans were


36 least likely to use Hispanic at 26%. Puerto Ricans were most likely to use their country of origin as their race with 30% compared to 15% and 11% for Dominicans and the South American group respectively. South Americans were most likely to report being White with 19% compared to 17% of Puerto Ricans and 12% of Dominicans. Five percent of Dominicans and South Americans used Spanish or Latino as their race compared to six percent of Puerto Ri cans. Eight percent of South Americans report they don't know their race compared to seven percent of Dominicans and three percent of Puerto Ricans. Twelve percent of Dominicans (12%) report being Black while 11% and 3% of Puerto Ricans and South Americans do so, respectively. Evidently, people who are categorized as Hispanic or Latino in fact see themselves from different understandings of race and ethnicity. This data confirms the lack of distinction between race and ethnicity for Hispanics/Latinos of the second generation. This leaves significant room for confusion for individuals and presents an alternative perspective from which to challenge current U.S. racial and ethnic categorizations. Golash Boza and Darity Jr (2008) discuss three hypotheses to exp lain Hispanic/Latino racial choices. They (2008:901) argue that Hispanic is a racialized ethnic label because "it is used and applied in a very similar way to other racial labels in the US on the basis of physical appearance." When people select Hispanic under a racial category, the authors concluded that the action indicates the participant viewing Hispanic as a racial categorization. They expand on reasons why they may select other race options. They hypothesize that those who are more assimilated and t hose with higher levels of education are more likely to choose White as their race and less likely to choose Black. However, both premises have mixed evidence since those who are bilingual and


37 English dominate select other and not White. Additionally, ther e is no consistent evidence to support the claim that those with higher education would select White since people with higher income ranges also select "other" for race. However, this theory arose from the social whitening process in Latin America, which o verrides skin color. They suggest this process would translate to the US context. Their final hypothesis is that those who experienced discrimination are less likely to select White than those who do not (2008:929). This hypothesis is supported by evidence where those with lighter skin and who had not felt discriminated more likely identified as White while those with darker skin and who had experienced discriminated identified as black or Hispanic. This data confirms that Hispanics are not all treated the same way. They posit that future self identifications will be based on skin color, the meanings of skin color and the interactions with others. The lack of a consistent race selection makes sense when understanding Latin American and Spanish history. To el aborate on the social whitening comment mentioned earlier, in Latin America, the categorization of race fluctuates and can be better understood in terms of ethnic, rather than racial, identity. One can become "whiter" by moving up in economic class. In Lat in America, "money whitens" (Kasinitz et al, 2008). Higher income, education and occupation contribute to achieving a better status in Latin America (Kasinitz et al, 2008). The conceptualization of race is immediately different once immigrants arrive in th e United States, where they tend to experience a shift into minority status, after having been, in most cases, a racial/ethnic majority in their country of origin. They grew up in a culture that had its own racial history and categorization, which is where their identity was formed.


38 The first generation experiences changes in how others label them when emigrating from their native countries to the U.S. However, the second and later generations do not experience such shift and would not have an alternative way of viewing labeling, although their parents may provide stories on how racial/ethnic labeling is different. Portes and MacLeod, in regards to labels, write (1996:529), Children of immigrants reared in the United States receive the full force of mainst ream symbolic messages without the cushion of an alternative cultural point of view, as possessed by their immigrant parent. It is thus among the second generation where adoption or rejection of the new pan national identity is likely to take a decisive tu rn. Children of immigrants may readily accept the terms if they do not have contact with alternative points of view. Since the term Hispanic has "evolved in this country" (Oboler, 1995:xii), the meaning of the term is something that immigrants have to lea rn, equivalent to a new language and customs. Due to this shift, immigrants may be wearier of U.S. racial categorization than second generation immigrants who grew up within such categories. One of the first studies on ethnic self identifications (Portes and MacLeod, 1996) studied forty two South Florida and Southern California schools where participants were allowed to write self designators. Self identities were classified into four categories: non hyphenated American, hyphenated American, non hyphenated foreign nationality and Hispanic. The study found that children who learn English and become familiar with American culture are more likely to identify as American or hyphenated American even if they retain Spanish. Retention of Spanish, or bilingualism, did not affect pan ethnic label selection. Self esteem increased with age, parental education, knowledge of English, and knowledge of a foreign language. Self esteem, however, is higher for those


39 who identify as American than those who identify with the pa n ethnic label. Portes and MacLeod (1996) argue that children of immigrants who identify with the term Hispanic have poor English skills, higher rates of poverty, lower educational goals, and lower self esteem than those who identify as Americans or hyphen ated Americans. Song (2003) responds to the idea that the Hispanic label is more accepted by working class second generation, saying that there is little empirical evidence proving that economic privilege affects identity formation. Although we see the His panic and Latino are both terms that emerged and are defined within the United States, acceptance of the terms is questionable. While people do use these terms, the majority prefers a more specific, nationality term. The retention of parents' nationality p rovides a resistance to the pan ethnic label (Portes and MacLeod, 1996). European immigrants experienced an ethnic labeling assimilation when they arrived from European states, which were not yet nations, their self identity was unclear but they began to i dentify by their states when forming communities (Portes and MacLeod, 1996). Similar to the Hispanic/Latino case, European immigrant identities were defined within America. An example Portes and MacLeod (1996) provide is that Polish peasants identified as Poles in America, even though only the lords in Poland would be considered Poles (while peasants were peasants). Research on European immigrants stated that the adoption of U.S. made ethnic labels was the first step towards "social acceptance and economic ascent" (Portes and MacLeod, 1996). So far, the literature and data reveal that most prefer a country of origin label, although Hispanic/Latino is still used. Additionally, whether accepting labels leads to economic ascent and social acceptance is still un explored in the research. However, since


40 immigrant incorporation research has revealed the possibility of retaining ethnic identities without sacrificing economic and social success, accepting alternative terms may likewise not infer. Racial and ethnic la bels are commonplace but are not always easy to select. It can be difficult to select a term that is stigmatizing, which have lead social movements to emerge to fight against discrimination. The term Latino is an example of such activism and provides anoth er way to identify that is different than the government imposed Hispanic. While categories assume homogeneity among those who are categorized as belonging under that label, Hispanics/Latinos overall prefer to identify with their country of origin. Further more, the Hispanic/Latino category was first conceptualized as a race and now it is considered an ethnicity. As the data reveal, there is confusion in what to select for both race and ethnicity questions, with country of origin being the overall preferred way to self identify. Overall, we see that while they may call themselves by several terms, selection is complex given the context of discrimination and concerns over loss of national and cultural identities for immigrants. Conclusion The initial steps in immigrant incorporation research presented one path, acculturation. Eventually, the theories expanded to include those who maintained their identities. Research began to discuss people's agency, including today's debate on the extent minorities have in possessing symbolic ethnicities and if people can transcend beyond perceptions and discrimination based on what race and ethnicity one appears to be. The ability to chose remains for second generation immigrants, who can assert and


41 strengthen their ethnic identities if they desire to. Various factors play into making this decision, including generational differences on language use, educational attainment, legal status and transnationalism. Likewise, family socialization plays an important role in instillin g a desire to maintain ethnic identities. Overall, we see that the second generation, the largest generational group among Hispanics/Latinos, is in a unique position compared to the first and later generations. The second generation ultimately chooses whe ther they want to explore and strengthen their ethnic identities. The literature discusses concerns immigrant generations have over racial and ethnic discrimination, perceptions of belonging to one homogeneous culture, preserving immigrant cultures and des iring to be viewed and treated as Americans. The data I've gathered complement the existing scholarship where my participants deal with these concerns while exploring what their ethnicity means to themselves and to others. Race and ethnicity are changing concepts, therefore labels change as an attempt to better capture people. Yet, the labels are often times not produced by the people who identify as such. Hispanic is an example of the government creating and imposing the term that many Hispanics/Latinos, including all but one of my participants, accept and use. Latino, on the other hand, demonstrates people's capacity to empower themselves by creating their own label. Nevertheless, people take on their countries of origin as an ethnicity, challenging pan e thnic labels that combine ethnic identities and national groups that feel are distinct from others. Overall, the literature emphasizes the complexities of ethnic identities. Meanwhile, pan ethnic labels homogenize and oversimplify who people are. With th e


42 literature as a foundation, I sought to interview second generation immigrants to demonstrate real examples of how people work through selecting ethnic labels to reflect personal ethnic identities. My research empirically enhances the scholarship and ref lects pre existing data, such that the second generation self identifies with many terms but ultimately does not prefer a pan ethnic label. Overall, we see that identities cannot be captured through categories.


43 Chapter Three: Methodology In order to understand the process of ethnic identity when selecting ethnic labels for children of immigrants I conducted open ended, semi structured interviews with Hispanic/Latino second generation individuals from the ages of 18 25 in Sarasota and Manatee counties. I asked the participants to share their experiences of being labeled as Hispanic and Latino in relation to how they self identify. Interviews, instead of surveys, allow for a richer, deeper understanding of ethnic i dentity. Kasinitz et al (2008:67) write, "Identity is situational, variable, and often hybrid. Survey questions do not capture the subtle differences between identifying as Puerto Rican & Hispanic, or African American versus black, or Chinese versus Asian. A survey neither permits the flexibility necessary to illustrate the situational, fluid and hybrid nature of identity, nor the various developing explanations of the differences between identifying as Latino instead of Hispanic, for example. A semi struc tured format allows freedom to access complex individual ethnic identity experiences as well as flexibility of adapting a question or adding new questions during the interview session that better relate to the participant's experiences and identity. Our s ense of identity changes with age and life experience as does our understandings of race/ethnic relations. For example, a 60 year old second generation immigrant could be more aware of how the treatment of immigrant families has changed since the early 196 0s, having experienced the effects of the Civil Rights Movement in everyday life. In comparison, their children's' upbringings are based on social life since the 1970s or 1980s. Identities are informed by the changing historical contexts, and therefore, ar e likely to change though time. Interviewing 18 25 year olds allows me to control for some of the effects that earlier historical periods may have on people's sense


44 of identity. I am able to present current worldviews of second generation young adults in r egards to their current sense of ethnic identity. Participants were recruited using flyers and emails through local colleges and universities and Latino businesses and organizations as well as through the snowball sampling method. The universities and col leges from which I solicited participants included: University of South Florida Sarasota/Manatee, Ringling College of Art and Design, State College of Florida Manatee Sarasota (formerly Manatee Community College), Keiser College, University of Phoenix, Manatee Technical Institute, Sarasota County Technical Institute and New College of Florida. Flyers were posted in libraries, cafeterias, student centers and other areas with bulletin boards. Additionally, flyers, both in English and Spanish, were posted at local Latino businesses and organizations. Latino businesses included ethnic food markets, restaurants and money wiring stores with Hispanic/Latino customers. E mails were sent to each of the colleges and universities listed above as well as to local H ispanic/Latino organization such as the Gulf Coast Latin Chamber of Commerce and Latino Excellence of Sarasota asking the college/university or organization to forward the calls for participants to student listservs or relevant persons. Representatives of the Student Life department at Ringling College of Art & Design and of the Latino Excellence of Sarasota replied stating that they would forward the e mail. Additionally, I contacted clubs at the colleges/universities to advertise the study to their member s. Not all of the colleges/universities maintained clubs or, if clubs did exist, some were not applicable to contact for the study. USF Sarasota Manatee's P.R.I.D.E. (Educators of diversity and culture) and Social Justice Initiative (whose mission states


45 t hat members are of diverse backgrounds) as well as State College of Florida, Manatee Sarasota's Multicultural club were contacted. Ideally, acquiring participants through multiple, diverse college campuses and businesses would allow for a range of experie nces to be represented in the interviews, including those from various incomes and educational backgrounds. The data collection methods attempted to reach potential participants who were not students. However, all of the people who contacted me were curren t students at a small liberal arts college in southwest Florida. Although this college's student population could be considered relatively homogeneous, the participants maintained diverse reasons for selecting certain ethnic labels and relationships to the broader Hispanic/Latino ethnic group. As such, the findings do provide an initial sense of the diverse ways these youth work through their identities. Since it was unknown how many people will respond to my requests for participation at universities/colle ges and through Latino organizations/business, I also used the snowball sampling method. At the end of each interview, I asked participants to provide contact information for any other people they knew who may be interested in participating in my study. Al l but one expressed that they did not know of any one else in the Sarasota/Manatee area that could participate. Only one person, a fourth year student, knew of other Hispanics and Latinos and listed them aloud from her memory. However, the majority of the people she listed had contacted me previously and did not qualify for the study because they were not U.S. born or their parents' were born in the U.S. One provided contact information of two friends at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. This is important s ince it reveals that the Hispanic/Latino community is not united at this college


46 at the time of the study. Therefore, diverse and distinct perspectives can be acquired from this group even at a small college. I define second generation Hispanic/Latino" i mmigrants as a person born in the United States but whose parents (one or both of them) were born in a Spanish speaking country or territory. The definition, which I used in recruitment flyers and e mails, excludes the words Hispanic/Latino in order to obt ain participants who don't identify with them, even though they would be classified as such. The definition includes Puerto Ricans and excludes non Spanish speaking countries, mainly Brazil and Portugal. Even though Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, they a re viewed and treated as immigrants when they move to the mainland. Brazilians and Portuguese are included in the term Latino and excluded in the term Hispanic. In my research, I opted to not study the process of being included in the Latino label but also excluded from the Hispanic label (or vice versa). This mixed situation is a different experience compared with people who have a choice between the two labels. This difference is particularly pronounced in the east coast of the U.S. where Hispanic is comm only used instead of Latino, and where my research takes place. Therefore, people from countries that do not primarily speak Spanish, such as Brazil, are excluded from the sample. Since location plays a role in influencing identity, my study is limited to Sarasota and Manatee counties. Only those who are currently living in Sarasota or Manatee counties were allowed to participate. There is a larger presence of Latinos in Manatee County than in Sarasota County, in regards to population and businesses. Acc ording to the 2008 Census, Hispanics and Latinos make up 13.5% of the 315,766 residents


47 (approximately 42,628 persons) of Manatee County while the 2008 Census report Hispanics and Latinos compose 7.2% of the 372,057 (approximately 26,788 persons) residents in Sarasota county. Neighborhoods in the city of Sarasota are segregated and Hispanic/Latino shops are abundant in certain neighborhoods and streets, albeit scattered, throughout the rest of the county. According to the 2002 Survey of Business Owners (SBO ), 3.2% (approximately 1,290) of 40,297 firms in Sarasota County are Hispanic/Latino owned compared to 27.9% (approximately 6,293) of 22,557 firms in Manatee County. Although one county has a larger Hispanic presence than the other, in both cases the popul ation is smaller than in places where the Hispanic/Latino population is the majority, such as Miami and parts of California. Therefore, Sarasota and Manatee counties are more similar among themselves compared to Miami Dade, Florida (2008, 62.4%) or Imperia l County, California (2008, 72.22%) Hispanic/Latino. Moreover, Sarasota and Manatee counties are next to each other within the state of Florida, which provides sufficient similarity to warrant combining the two into one analysis. Since all of the participa nts are college students, their primary points of reference are their home states and hometowns in comparison to Sarasota/Manatee counties. All 11 participants either grew up in or moved to Florida before coming to college. Five moved to Florida from anoth er state or country. Three participants, Alex, Niurka and Hermine 1 moved to Florida when they were young and spent their childhoods there while one participant, Julia, moved to Florida from New York in high school. One participant, Diane, spent part of he r childhood in Florida as well as in two other countries. Therefore, eight participants spent their childhood in Florida. The participants lived throughout 1 Pseudonyms


48 Florida, including: Southwest (2), South (8), and Northeast (1) Florida. Five participants grew up o r lived in Miami. Although the regions of Florida differ in their Hispanic/Latino populations, Hispanic/Latino makes up 21% of the state of Florida compared to 15.4% in the U.S., according to the 2008 Census. As for the areas the participants grew up in, Census divides the data by counties but cities or counties will not be named in order to maintain participant confidentiality. Therefore, I will continue to address the areas the participants grew up in by regions, although the percentages I provide are ac tually for the specific counties from the U.S. Census Bureau (2008b) Northeast FL has a 6.3% Hispanic/Latino population while the Southeast has 9.2%. Seventy three percent (8) of my participants grew up in South FL, which is composed of Palm Beach, Browar d and Miami Dade counties. The Hispanic/Latino populations are significantly different in each of these counties: Palm Beach with 17.8%, Broward with 24%, and Dade with 62.4%. Broward and Dade counties maintain a significantly higher number of Hispanics/La tinos while the other regions/counties maintain a lower percentage in relation to the state of Florida. Previous research on the second generation has focused on large, metropolitan areas with a large Hispanic/Latino population. Such studies include Kasin itz et al's 2008 study on 1.5 and second generation immigrants in New York City, Roach's 2007 dissertation on Colombian 1.5 and second generations in Los Angeles and Queens, NY and Portes and Rumbaut 1991 2006 Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study (CIL S) in Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Seventy three percent of my sample (8 out of 11) live in major cities with significantly large Hispanic/Latino populations (Miami Dade and Broward counties) but the sample also provides some insight on Hispanic/Latino secon d


49 generation people living in smaller cities and counties, where their ethnic group does not have strong enclaves. Interview Guide The Interview Guide consists of approximately thirty two questions inquiring about family origins, participant's ethnic ide ntity, selection of ethnic label(s) and ethnic group membership (See Appendix A for interview guide). General demographic information was collected at the end of the interview. Prior to explaining the sources for the interview questions, I will explain th e general structure of the interview tool. The family and childhood experiences section asks about family ethnic background, how parents discussed their native countries, languages spoken at home, neighborhood racial and ethnic composition and race and eth nicities of close childhood friends. For the ethnic identity section, I asked what ethnic label they select on forms, whether they've experienced difficulty making up their mind between categories on forms, whether they have a country specific or pan ethni c label inclination, whether these selections have changed throughout their life, how important their ethnic identity is to them, and whether they feel their parents and U.S. culture affected their decisions regarding their ethnic identity and labels. In t he Ethnic Group Membership section, I asked how strongly they identify with other members of their ethnic group and country specific nationality. Specifically, I inquire on their sense of belonging to country specific nationalities (and with the residents of these nations) and the Hispanic/Latino group. I ask how often they think about belonging to, what they have in common with and if their future is tied to the future of these two groups. Additionally, there are


50 questions asking if phenotype has affected how people perceive their ethnicity, allowing space for comments on the differences between how people perceived race compared to how people perceive their ethnicity, if any. In the final sections, I allow the participant to discuss additional experiences that they feel are relevant. I ended the interview requesting basic demographic information including gender, family income, educational achievement, and student status (if they are or are not students). The majority of the questions in the interview guid e were self created, although some questions were taken from other sources. I choose to not use a pre existing tool because existing interview guides and surveys asked questions specifically directed towards the scholar(s)'s research question and were not always applicable to my research question or sample population. For example, Roach (2006) inquired on participants': citizenship(s), language abilities and use, occupation, beliefs on interracial relationships, and social life as well as the ethnic identit ies of their children. Some questions would provide additional knowledge about participants' opinions on pan ethnicity and/or ethnic identity maintenance for the 1.5 and 2nd generations. However, these questions would have gone beyond the scope of my study Therefore, I borrowed questions that would allow access to understanding terms they used to self identify and how these may match their ethnic identities. The interview format was adapted from Sasha Wortzel's 2006 New College of Florida Senior Thesis. As for the questions borrowed, I used three primary sources: Portes and Rumbaut's (1991 2006) Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study (CILS), Roach's (2006) dissertation and Gurin et al (1999). Question twelve, How important is this identity to you, (th at is, what you call yourself (circle one))? Not important,


51 Somewhat important, Very important" was taken from Portes and Rumbaut's Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study (CILS), 1991 2006 Their study was one of the first to collect data from a large s ample ( 5,200) on the adaptation processes of children of immigrants (both 1.5 and second generations) in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale in Florida and San Diego, California. Their survey contained two questions applicable to my study; the first asked "How do you ide ntify; that is, what do you call yourself" followed by a large but not exhaustive list of ethnic labels. The participant was allowed to write in their answer. I did not include this question in my guide because I want to explore more about the process of s electing ethnic labels rather than only discuss what someone calls himself or herself. Instead, questions seven to thirteen are dedicated to exploring categorizations, difficulties in selecting terms, and their ethnic identity, allowing the participant tim e to think through and talk about ethnic labels in a more detailed manner. However, I did include question twelve because it was relevant to ask the importance of an ethnic label to them. Roach (2006) likewise chose to use only this question in her dissert ation interview questionnaire. Question two asked about languages spoken inside participant's home when they were growing up. If the answer was yes, I asked a follow up question "when are you most likely to speak that language?," which was taken from Roac h (2006) interview guide. Questions seventeen to twenty two were taken from Gurin et al (1999) which asks about different social categories such as gender, race/ethnicity, economic status, sexual orientation, and religion. These questions included: How imp ortant is your [category] to you?, How often do you think about being a member of your group and what you have in common with others in this group?, Indicate the extent to which something that happens


52 in your life is affected by what happens to other peopl e in your group, How proud do you feel when a member of your group accomplishes something worthwhile?, and How much contact did you have with [the following groups] growing up? These questions were used but with race and ethnicity as the only category I in quired about. Additionally, I separated the pan ethnic and country specific labels so participants could have space to describe differences. Research Limitations During the parts of the interview where participants are asked to recall their childhood, th e answers are a combination of memory and hindsight. Participants' experiences are filtered through the interpretations of their past. Similarly, participants are likely to be aware of the listener's identity. The participants were aware that I am a peer a nd a "Hispanic/Latino" second generation immigrant. The participants and I were around the same age, students, born and/or living in Florida. Often times, we were both the same sex and/or gender. Our commonalities appeared to allow the participant to relax and form a sense of camaraderie in shared experiences. A possible limiting factor in this method of research is that the interviewee might not have ever thought critically about their ethnicity. Moreover, being in college may affect their understanding o f their ethnicity. Identity is formed during an exploratory period in life. College is, often times, where such self exploration occurs. All of my participants were currently in college at the time of the study. Therefore, my findings are reflective of col lege students, but not a wider population. College students are known for being a population used in convenience sampling. Therefore, this is not an unusual approach. I do not argue that these participants are


53 representative of how all Hispanic/Latino seco nd generation immigrants deal with labeling. Since each person deals with ethnic identity individually, these interviews serve more as person based studies of how these particular participants, during that specific moment in their lives at the time of the interview, interpret their own identity. However, this study does provide insight on how liberal arts college students address their identities. Interviewing & Coding Procedures I interviewed 11 students at a small liberal arts college in southwest FL du ring January and February 2010. Interviews lasted 20 to 55 minutes and were conducted in English in a classroom, study room and recording booth in the college library. Before each interview, I verified that they met the criteria to participate in the study ; they must be between the ages of 18 25, U.S. born and with at least one parent who was born in a Spanish speaking country. At the start of the interview, I reviewed what my thesis was about, what topics would be asked, approximately how long the intervie w would last and what the interview process would be like (i.e. "I'll be reading questions from an interview guide I'll be taking notes throughout the interview"). I stated that the interview guide focuses on the topics related to my thesis but they are a llowed to bring up whatever is on their mind and whatever they feel is relevant. Additionally, I mentioned that there are no right or wrong answers to the questions. Then, I reviewed IRB confidentiality rights and asked them to sign a consent form. After t hat, the interview guide portion of the interview began and this was the only section of the interview I audio recorded. Participants either provided or were assigned a pseudonym. Assigned pseudonyms were taken from the


54 2010's Worldwide Tropical Cyclone Na mes Atlantic Names. The full list of names is below. At the end of the interview, they were asked to fill out basic demographic information and provide contact information for people who would be interested in participating. I provided them with a $10 Ba rnes and Noble gift card. Finally, I let them know if they had any questions or additional thoughts, they could call or e mail me. After the interview, I thanked the participant again via e mail. Table 5: Worldwide Tropical Cyclone Names Atlantic Names 2 010 Alex Bonnie Colin Danielle Earl Fiona Gaston Hermine Igor Julia Karl Lisa Matthew Nicole Otto Paula Richard Shary Tomas Virginie Walter NOAA / National Weather Service Assessed: January 2 1, 2010 To code each interview, I used the qualitative data analysis program NVivo where I used paragraph by paragraph open coding. I transcribed all interviews and coded by


55 question as well as by concepts and themes found in the data. Paragraph transcri ptions were not mutually exclusive and were assigned to various codes. Of the 11 participants, two were males, eight were female and one was genderqueer. The family income distribution was: Less than $25,000 (1), $25,000 $49,999 (4), $50,000 $74,999 (3), $75,000 $99,999 (1), and $100,000 and above (2). Below is a table that includes participant demographics with primary self identification, family origins and Hispanic/Latino preference. Table 6: Participant Demographics with Preferred Self identification Family Origins, and Hispanic/Latino Preference Participant Preferred SID Family Origins (Mother, Father) Preference: Hispanic or Latino? Childhood spent in Gender Family Income Bonnie Mexican Cuba, Mexico Hispanic Miami Female $50,000 $74,9 99 Alex Hispanic Honduras, Colombia Hispanic Southwest FL Male $100,000 and above Diane Rejection of labels Both from Honduras Hispanic Miami, Honduras, Mexico Female $50,000 $74,999 Danielle Situational Colombia, Nicaragua Latino South FL Female $50,00 0 $74,999 Colin Guatemalan Guatemala, Irish American Hispanic Miami Male Less than $25,000 Fiona Cuban Anglo (Irish & German), Cuba Hispanic Miami Female $75,000 $99,999 Niurka Cuban Both from Cuba Hispanic South FL Queer $25,000 $49,999 Hermine Hispan ic Chile, Anglo (Dutch, Lithuanian) Hispanic IL, South FL Female $100,000 and above Julia Hispanic Italian American, Dominican Republic Hispanic NY, Southwest FL Female $25,000 $49,999 Lisa Situational Cuban, El Salvador Hispanic Miami Female $25,000 $4 9,999 Nicole Dominican Both from Dominican Republic Hispanic Northeast FL Female $25,000 $49,999


56 Participant Profiles Before I speak of the patterns found in participants' answers in the next chapter, I want to provide information about each person individually. Each participant profile contains information regarding their family origins, whether Spanish was spoken at home, their primary self identification and any additional information they mentioned as being important to their ethnic identity. The profiles may help understand the participants' answers given the experiences they mentione d in the interviews. Bonnie grew up in Miami with a Mexican father and Cuban mother. The neighborhood she grew up in was composed of mostly Whites and Hispanics. She speaks Spanish mainly with her grandmother and Spanish and English with her parents. Her m other was born in Cuba but grew up in Mexico and most of her family is from Mexico which has contributed to Bonnie identifying more with being Mexican, although identifies with being Cuban as well. She identifies with a country specific identity and select s Cuban and Mexican/Chicano on official forms. She prefers the term Hispanic rather than Latino. However, she does not think about being Hispanic/Latino or Cuban and Mexican very often. The current anti immigrant political environment has caused her to ide ntify with being Hispanic more as a way of declaring solidarity with other Hispanics/Latino and to look out for each other. Alex grew up in a mostly white neighborhood and grew up with mostly white friends in the west coast of Florida. His parents, a Hond uran mother and Colombian father, immigrated to the U.S. to a attend higher educational institution and for professional employment They remembered their native countries fondly and Alex has


57 visited Honduras several times. He knows "bits of Spanish" and c hecks off the Hispanic box on official documents. He identifies with the pan ethnic label of Hispanic and prefers Hispanic to Latino. He does not think about being Hispanic/Latino and Honduran and Colombian very often except for reading the news about the countries. He compares his parents' reactions to the news to typical American reactions. He does not identify with being Hispanic in terms of being prideful about his ethnicity but rather for political and social justice reasons. He desires to work towards solutions with Hispanics to help solve problems they face. Diane lived in Miami as well as in two Latin American countries including her parents' native country of Honduras. She spoke Spanish growing up and still speaks the language. She prefers not to l abel herself with any racial or ethnic terms although she selects Hispanic on official forms. Her ethnic identity is a combination of experiences in Honduras, Mexico and the United States and it is very important to her. She mentions three main reasons for why she rejects labels: religious reasons, to prevent stereotyping and prejudice and to challenge her peers to not define people by their country or family origins. Her interactions with others in the countries she has lived in exposed her to the way othe r people understand her ethnic identity. She was viewed as an outsider in Mexico and Honduras where some viewed her as a gringa and in the U.S. where she is considered Hispanic. Danielle 's mother is from Colombia and her father is from Nicaragua. She sp oke Spanish growing up and still speaks the language. She grew up in South Florida in an area mostly comprised of Latinos and African Americans. The identities she chooses vary from situation to situation and she would use both country specific and the pan ethnic


58 label of Latino. She does not show preference for either country specific or pan ethnic labels, mentioning that both labels can be problematic for her at times. She is aware of the history of the terms Hispanic and Latino and prefers the term Latin o. Colin grew up in Miami with a Guatemalan mother and Irish American father. He spoke Spanish at home and he continues to speak the language. He calls himself Guatemalan and selects White Hispanic on forms (in whatever varying version it is offered on fo rms). He's tried to figure out what the difference is between the terms Hispanic and Latino and he's concluded that he feels more comfortable calling himself Hispanic rather than Latino since he had been primarily "exposed" to the term Hispanic prior to co ming to college and "thought of as Hispanic." He identifies with both parents' backgrounds although he mentions that growing up in Miami where distinctions are made between people of different countries in Latin America has resulted him being more inclined towards a country specific label. Fiona 's mother is Anglo (with Irish and German ancestry) and her father is Cuban. She was raised in Miami, which was composed of mostly Hispanics/Latinos but also had Blacks and Jewish Whites. She spoke English at home b ut her grandparents spoke to her in Spanish and she responded in English. She began learning to speak Spanish at college and desires to become fluent. Growing up with her grandparents serving as second parents (who took great pride in telling stories about Cuba) and growing up within the Cuban community in Miami solidified her identification as a Cuban. She doesn't know the differences between Hispanic and Latino but she supposes that she prefers Hispanic because "it's familiar."


59 Niurka grew up in South FL and her parents are both from Cuba. She strongly identifies as a Cuban. Her grandmother was the person who really instilled the "essence of what it is to be Cuban" in her and her closeness to her extended family has made being Cuban something that is very special and important to her. This attachment to Cuba seems at times "silly" to her since the Spanish she grew up speaking has not been at its grammatical best since her grandmother passed and she's never been to Cuba. She selects Cuban on forms and prefer s Hispanic because she finds Latino to be annoying. Hermine grew up in Illinois and later moved to South Florida. Her mother is Chilean and her father is American. Her mother did not speak about Chile much when Hermine was growing up. When she did, she ta lked about the food there and her family dogs. She only spoke English at home and, having grown up in mostly white, upper middle class neighborhoods, she did not interact with people of varying races and ethnicities. She calls herself Hispanic but does not personally relate to the term or the ethnic group. She emphasizes that her mother is from Chile, and she is not. Julia grew up in New York and later moved to Southwest Florida. Her mother is Italian American and her father is Dominican. She did not grow up with her parent from the Dominican Republic (and thus did not speak Spanish at home) and expressed a lack of identification with the Hispanic/Latino community, even though she selected the term Hispanic on forms. Initially, she said that she felt more i nclined toward the country specific term because of her uneasiness with labeling herself as part of the broader Hispanic/Latino community. However, she said that she doesn't feel like she belongs to the country specific identification either. Her identific ation was something she was in the


60 midst of exploring at the time of the interview so her mixed answers make sense. She uses Hispanic more and she doesn't distinguish Hispanic and Latino as being different. Lisa 's father is Cuban and her mother is Salvado rian. She grew up in Miami where there were many Cuban and Jewish Whites in the neighborhood. Lisa identifies with situational labels and mentioned employing her Salvadorian, Cuban or broader Hispanic identities depending on who she was with. Family is the main reason why she considers her Latin American family origins important in her life. Thus, she associates her ethnic identity with family. She has no inclination to a specific country and she is not sure of the differences between Hispanic and Latino al though she associates Hispanic with paperwork. She selects Hispanic on forms. Nicole 's parents are both from the Dominican Republic. She grew up in Northwest FL in a mostly white neighborhood where she primarily spoke Spanish at home. She selects Hispanic on forms and is not sure of the differences between Hispanic and Latino. She selects a country specific label because her parents wanted her to identify with it.


61 Chapter Four: Results and Discussion Eight main concepts emerged from the participants' stories: the ethnic label(s) with which they prefer to self identify, difficulties deciding between terms, the differences between the terms Hispanic and Latino, the n eighborhoods they grew up in, the current political environment for Hispanics/Latinos, how important their ethnicity is to them, ethnic identity in relation to others and the stage of their ethnic identity. While the participants provided more information outside of these topics, these themes emerged as significant patterns from the conversations. Some themes were prompted from the interview guide such as the discussion on ethnic labels and the differences between them while the participants raised others, like neighborhood importance and the political environment of Hispanic/Latinos. Before discussing participant responses to these questions, I want to talk about how parents discussed their n ative countries, language use and family income. These are quest ions I asked in the interview guide in order to understand the familial context in which participants were raised and the environment in which their ethnic identities developed. All participants reported their parents speaking fondly of their native countr ies in some way. They provided examples of what their parents talked about, ranging from culture and politics. As for language, there were a variety of Spanish speaking abilities within the sample. There appeared to be no patterns in relation to language a nd self identification except for the two participants who identify with a pan ethnic label who did not grow up with a strong Hispanic/Latino presence at home and thus did not speak Spanish growing up. Likewise, there appeared to be no patterns in


62 relation to family income, with people of varying income ranges self identifying similarly. Preferred Self Identification Participants were asked "When referring to their ethnic identity, some people prefer to identify with specific countries while others prefe r the broader identities such as being Latino or being Hispanic. Which do you feel more inclined toward, the country identity or the Latino/Hispanic identity?" In their responses, participants reported four types of self identifications: Pan ethnic, Countr y specific, Situational, and Rejection of all labels. Of the eleven participants, t hree chose to ambivalently identify with the term Hispanic (as opposed to Latino) ; f ive identified with a country specific label ; t wo chose situational labels ; and o ne rejec ted all racial and ethnic labels. All participants acknowledge some type of flexibility in ethnic labels, whether it be in ambivalently identifying with Hispanic, selecting Hispanic on forms but preferring a country specific label or no label at all, or c hoosing terms depending on the context. Therefore, this section discusses the ethnic label, if any, that they prefer to be called. Pan ethnic / Hispanic Three participants identified with the broader Hispanic label and preferred the term Hispanic rather than Latino. Of these three, t wo participants had one parent who was Hispanic/Latino while the other was American. The Hispanic/Latino parent's culture was not part of their childhood. The third participant grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood wit h both parents who were immigrants. All three spoke little to no


63 Spanish at home and did not interact with many Hispanics or Latinos. All expressed a lack of identification with the broader Hispanic/Latino community, even though they select the term Hispan ic on forms and would ambivalently self identify with Hispanic. I asked Alex, When referring to their ethnic identity, some people prefer to identify with specific countries while others prefer the broader identities such as being Latino or being Hispanic Which do you feel more inclined toward, the country identity or the Latino/Hispanic identity? He replied that he preferred the broader identity. Although he did not explain why, it is possible that the fact his parents come from two different countries m ay explain this non alignment with a particular country Parents from two different countries may make selecting and identifying with a specific country difficult. However, at the end of the interview, I asked: Are there any additional comments or experien ces you'd like to share to help me understand how and why you identify ethnically and racially the way you do? He responded, When it comes to racial and ethnic identity, I look at the causes not as, like you know, being proud of who I am but trying to lo ok at the problems that Hispanics have and trying to work towards solutions to them. So while I may not know Spanish and things like that I tend to view it through that kind of lens a social justice lens than a racial pride type of lens. It is clear that although he selects Hispanic in forms, he does not view the label as completely identifying who he is. It doesn't reflect what he grew up with, what he's use d to and what matters most to him. Instead, it is a label he uses politically and with a "soci al justice lens" in hopes of helping solve problems that Hispanics encounter. He is, of course, Hispanic and never denies this. When I asked him if he felt a sense of belong ing to a country specific group, he replied I wouldn't self identify myself with it but I would use it as a means of differentiation. Like, if I was hanging around a bunch of Cuban Americans, like


64 you know, I would be like, I'm not Cuban American. Like, you know, you you don't expect me to act in these ways. He does not self identif y with a country specific group either, although it is perhaps necessary in situations where he is among Hispanics/Latinos. In a similar case, Hermine did grow up with her parent from Chile but the Hispanic/Latino culture was not part of her childhood. Sh e did not speak Spanish at home and did not interact with many Hispanics or Latinos growing up. She does not feel strongly tied to the broader Hispanic/Latino community. Hispanic is the term she primarily self identifies with and it is also what she select s on forms. However, in conversations on her ethnicity, she specifies that her mother is from Chile and she is not. However, she mentioned that other people often times did not believe or view her as Hispanic and she would argue with them stating that she was in fact Hispanic. She details the racial environment in her high school in South Florida where Hispanics and Latinos were never in advanced classes but instead in ESOL classes. Since she was in advanced classes and Hispanic, it was difficult for people to believe she was Hispanic, which is why some people would argue that she was not. While she may not identify as Hispanic, her mother does. When her Hispanic background is denied, she reclaims her identity because of her mother's identification with it. One participant, Julia, who did not grow up with her parent from the Dominican Republic expressed a lack of identification with the Hispanic/Latino community, even though she selected the term Hispanic on forms. Initially, she said that she felt more incli ned toward the country specific term because of her uneasiness with labeling herself as part of the broader Hispanic/Latino community. However, later she said, in response to questions on the interview guide, she doesn't feel like she belongs to the countr y specific


65 identification, never thinks about being Dominican and that it is not very important to her either. She was aware of her conflicting answers. Her identification was something she was in the midst of exploring at the time of the interview so her mixed answers make sense. At that time, she did not feel a strong connection to either but her ethnic identity will likely change as she continues to figure out what it means to her. All participants expressed some degree of difficulty identifying with a b roader Hispanic/Latino community, regardless of whether they ultimately preferred a country, broader or situational identity. However, in the case of these participants who preferred a broader identity, the struggle between a white racial identity and a Hi spanic/Latino ethnic identity has been a concern in their lives. It has not been easy for them to reconcile between the two. T heir parent(s) who immigrated to the U.S. are likewise a part of them and their ethnic heritage. Denying that they are Hispanic wo uld be like denying their parent or the internal struggle they continue to experience in shaping an identity that truly is who they are. Clearly, the selection of the term Hispanic is just one aspect of a more complicated, deeply personal issue. The bro ader, pan ethnic self identification group reflects how personal and political identifications and labeling can be very problematic. Participants personally struggle with the term Hispanic and whether it reflects who they are but ultimately accept it polit ically. Politically selecting the Hispanic term allows them to identify with a minority group, which could serve to their advantage when applying for scholarships and entering the workforce. However, this potential benefit is not the reason they select the term. I n the case of Alex, he expressed an interest in social justice issues and hopes to help bring real solution to the problems Hispanics face. For Hermine, the selection of


66 Hispanic is a way of recognizing her Mother's native country which perhaps isn 't represented in other parts of herself. Julia is figuring out what her father's country of origins means to her and whether this identification is important in her life. These three interviewees illustrate a complex process of negotiation between their identity as Hispanics and as White Americans. In the context of political negotiations (such as being denied their Hispanic identity by others or choosing to support the oppressed by identifying with them), they do reaffirm their Hispanic identity. Yet, th ey do not seem to feel a strong cultural alliance to a particular practice, or a country specific identity. Country specific Five out of 11 participants preferred a country specific identity such as identifying as Cuban. These participants had strong ties with their Latin American culture within the U.S. but preferred the country specific label rather than a broader pan ethnic label like Hispanic or Latino. A common explanation the participants offered for preferring the country specific label was that gro wing up in a Hispanic/Latino community allowed them to see the difference between people from different countries in Latin America. Thus, a more specific term would reflect the food, culture, and history that they experienced which a broader term could not distinguish Although they prefer a country specific label, the label arose from the nation based community in the United States (usually first generation parents) that has a strong attachment to their native countries. In regards to whether he is more in clined toward a


67 country specific or broader pan ethnic identity, Colin (whose father is Anglo and mother is Guatemalan) chooses the country identity. He responded, Even though I've only been to Guatemala once when I was two it's such common practice betw een Spanish speakers in Miami that you'll get into a conversation with someone and one of the first questions they'll ask is De donde eres?" (Where are you from?) Always Everyone seems to draw some distinctions there. People claim to pick up on differen t ways of pronouncing words and of like speaking Spanish. It's like oh I knew you were from Colombia or something like that. I guess because of that, I'm slightly more inclined to think of myself as [being from] a Guatemalan background. In a later quest ion about whether he thinks the U.S. culture affected his decision to choose the label Guatemalan, he said, No, I don't think so. I think that if anything it's the experience of encountering different Hispanics in Miami and like all the different varietie s having their own identity and me being like yeah, I'm Guatemalan, with respect to all the other ones, you know. Clearly, "environmental" factors of being among other Hispanics/Latinos in Miami play an important role in the formation of a country specif ic identity. Neighborhoods and interactions with other Hispanics/Latinos will be further explored in the L ocation Matters: Neighborhoods subsection. When I asked Fiona if she felt more inclined toward a country specific or broader Hispanic or Latino ident ity, she said, I feel probably more inclined toward the country. But I talk about them in conjunction. But I do not think I would generally [say] [said excitedly] "like oh yeah, I'm Hispanic!" I would probably just tell people like oh yeah, I'm Hispanic, I'm Cuban I would never leave it as Hispanic. All of the participants who identified with a country specific label had strong ties with their Latin American family background. Family was the recurring theme reported by these participants, who brought abou t their connections to a country specific identity. It


68 was also the Latin American community they lived in that helped them learn about their ethnic identity and make it something important in their lives. Fiona writes, It definitely has to be that you kn ow I grew up in Miami where there's a very strong Hispanic community and I grew up with my grandparents kind of functioning as second parents to me. My mom's family all lived in the west coast so we only really saw them maybe once a year. And I feel like I have a lot of like the Cuban community really influenced growing up and it still does and I grew up in that. And I feel it's something I wasn't aware of for a long time but moving to Sarasota where it's not here anymore you kind of realize hmm that's not how like every city is. Fiona's comment echoes the reasons all of the participants provided for choosing a country specific label. The country specific label seems to be a type of rejection of broader pan ethnic labels, although not always a blatant one. Participants expressed the belief that it's a necessary step because the terms Hispanic and Latino homogenize diverse countries. Selecting a country specific term suggests a questioning of these broader terms and an encouragement of and perhaps need for mo re detailed terminology. Also, their inclinations toward a country specific term reflects their close connections with people that embrace the Hispanic/Latino cultures. Comparing this with those that prefer pan ethnic labels, we do observe more parental an d community engagement in these cultural practices. Situational Two participants chose to identify with a situational label. Both participants had parents who were from different countries, such as a Cuban mother and a Salvadorian father. Both participan ts felt strongly toward both of their parents' countries of origins. A


69 situational label allows them to employ country identifications with other Salvadorians and/or Cubans as well as broader Hispanic identities depending on the situation. Danielle preferr ed the term Latino while Lisa is unsure of the differences and uses either. Lisa identified herself with situational labels and mentioned employing her Salvadorian, Cuban or broader Hispanic identities depending on who she was with. She mentioned that fam ily was the main reason why she considers family origins important in her life so she associates her ethnic identity with family. She has no inclination to a specific country or preference for Hispanic or Latino. She uses all terms freely and doesn't prefe r any specific label. Danielle also identified with a situational label. She did not prefer to identify with any specific terms although she would prefer to be called Latina compared to Hispanic. Regarding her inclination for a situational label, She say s "Well I guess if I'm talking about myself to just a group of people I know nothing about, I'd prefer Latina. But I guess depending on the situation, if I can tailor, then I would." Choosing a situational identity allows her to employ labels that are most salient to the scenario. When I asked if she felt more inclined towards a country specific identity or a Latino/Hispanic identity, she replied, It depends on who I am talking to. If it's other Latinos then I'll say that my family is from Colombia because amongst ourselves we know that there are differences between the countries and even like regions within the country. But if I'm talking to a gringo then I'll just say Latino because ultimately I did grow up in the United States and I feel like the Spanish speaking culture here has it's own norms and it's own, I guess, system than any one specific country in Latin America. And that's the one I grew up in. So I feel like Latino would still be fair to describe myself as. A situational label that Danielle des cribes appears to have two components: 1) identities are shaped by interactions with other people and 2) specifying between a country specific


70 term and pan ethnic terms. I further explor e these two elements in the upcoming paragraphs. When Danielle is wit h other Latinos, she explains that her family is from Colombia because in that group there is recognition of "differences between the countries and even regions within the country." However, if she with a "gringo," a term with many meanings depending on t he context but connotes a White American in this case, she uses the broader term of Latino. She notes the differences between the country specific and pan ethnic label. Even among other Latinos, she specifies that her family is from Colombia rather than st ating she is Colombian. Instead of a preference for either a country specific or a broader Hispanic/Latino identity, both tended to be problematic for her. In regards to the term Colombian American and a Colombian identification, she explains, ... I don't think I would ever go for Colombian American. Like that's more my mom like she really is Colombian American. She grew up there and then she came here and became American. Whereas I don't really have that strong ide ntification to really include [Colombia] in my label. She would not call herself Colombian because of her detachment from the country. S he continues to describe this weak identification with the country specific label, As long as I can make it United States centric because like I'm from the U S so like I don't know it always feels like I'm lying. Oh yeah! I'm Colombian! Like, I've been there like two weeks I'm not Colombian. [Laugh] Danielle feels a country specific term or a hyphenated Colombian American would not completely describe he r experiences either. However, given the context that she is in, she would use Colombian, Latino, White and Black, and Hispanic to describe herself, which shows the flexibility of her identification.


71 As mentioned in the Hispanic pan ethnic group, having p arents from different countries may make it difficult for people to select a specific country. This appears to be a similar explanation for the situational group. Rather than choosing a country, they identify in a multiple ways with some being more problem atic than others. Nevertheless, t he situational label exemplifi es the fluidity of identities A situational identity is something that we all employ. In academic circles, one could perhaps identify as a student, professor or sociologist depending on the sc enario. Meanwhile, in conversations with your parents, you would identify as a daughter or son or a mother or father. Identity broadly is flexible and race and ethnicity is among the identities one can chose to employ depending on the situation. Rejectio n One participant rejected all racial and ethnic labels and strongly identifies with the Hispanic/Latino community. She was very proud of her Honduran family origins. She's has spent a third of her life in Mexico, Honduras and Miami and her experiences in these countries all make up her ethnic identity rather than being simply Honduran. Diane provides several reasons for rejecting racial and ethnic labels, including her Bah‡'’ religion, avoiding stereotypes and prejudice and the complexities of identity. She states, I like to give the whole explanation so that I'm not given a label. It's also religious reasons. Part of my religion is to consider yourself a global citizen rather than confine yourself to a single race or a single ethnicity. So I like to a void labels but I do recognize that they're important. The role of religion for Diane injects a new dimension to our understanding of racial and ethnic identification and relations Rather than declaring herself a particular race and


72 ethnicity, her religi on asks that she consider herself a global citizen. Nevertheless, she believes race and ethnicity are important She recognizes that labels are important to social relations and organization in our society We live in a racialized society where having some one without a race is impossible since race is the first thing to notice about someone in addition to sex and age (Song 2003). In addition to religious reasons, she explains that she does not want to label herself in order to avoid prejudice and racism. S he elaborates on the rejection further, I want to avoid prejudice or stereotyping so I almost like to challenge my peers into not defining me by what country I was born in because that's not how people are. Everyone is different no matter what country they come [from]. What we tend to neglect is that in this day in age, we have a lot more globalization even when it comes to people. They move around a lot. Groups of people are categorized and ranked by phenotypic or cultural differences and similarities. R acism, prejudices and stereotypes claim differences in people and are part of everyday life As such, some people consider them to be real and expect everyone to be able to fit into them. However, as Diane illustrates in the age of globalization, not only do people move around and hold diverse experiences in those countries but they also will have internal differences of worldviews, personalities, and behaviors that isn't confined to simply country of origin. Diane chooses to challenge all labels and push for an individualized approach to identity. When asked if she is more inclined towards a country specific or broader, pan ethnic identity, she replied, Oh, the country identity absolutely. Every country is different from the last and I don't think that j ust saying you're Hispanic is something. Like, saying that French and British is the same thing." When I asked her if she felt more inclined to a particular country that she's lived in and would call herself as being from


73 that country or instead identifies with all three, she replied, Um, I don't like people labeling me as one or the other so I just tell the whole story. But if I have to reduce it into one word, I say I'm Honduran but I moved a lot." It is important to note that she prefers to "tell the wh ole story" rather than select a label. Moreover, she discusses how she has experienced pressure from other people to select a term. She finds that people want her to select a term, although she does not desire to Although Diane's identification would pe rhaps be considered the most extreme by some people, since it is a rejection, she speaks about similar elements that all participants have discussed in some way. For example, the need for specification is a recurring theme. Hispanic/Latino is much too broa d to really take away who they are, what they've experienced and what they consider to be important in their lives. Deciding Between Terms There were various expressions of difficulties between terms. Participants were asked, "Many times, when we fill o ut official forms, such as drivers' licenses, or when we register at schools, we are asked to select a race and an ethnicity. When you face such a question, what race and ethnicity do you select?" Bonnie, who self identified as Mexican Cuban, spoke about h er difficulties selecting a term, I always answer this in the worst position way, depending on what it was. Um, it's really horrible to admit this but if I was taking a standardized test, I'd always mark myself as some form of Hispanic but usually they ha d Caribbean Hispanics, which was Cubans separated from Mexican Hispanics. So, it was always like Mexican/Chicano. So, when it came to tests, [sigh/breathe] I'd always kinda sit there and think which of those two I thought performed poorly and I'd put mysel f in that group so that my numbers would be kind of inflated amongst whichever. And, it was kind of always an arbitrary decision cause I couldn't decide ever. So, if you were to follow a history of my tests or whatever, they'd kind of flip flop


74 back and fo rth depending, I guess who was in my classes that I knew was from where. Bonnie is aware of the use of these categories to determine educational success and she used it to her advantage. Bonnie additionally expressed difficulty choosing between categorie s to mark on forms because she is both Cuban and Mexican. She tries to select both if she can. Lisa, Julia and Danielle also mentioned that they made sure to select Hispanic when filling out forms for scholarships. When I asked Bonnie if she'd had difficu lties selecting categories on forms, she stated, Just because I I have both, you know I fit into two categories pretty evenly although generally I'd say that I was more Mexican than Cuban, just because my mother lived in Mexico for longer. So, I feel as far as customs go, I have a few more Mexican customs than Cuban ones. She states later in the interview, "I'm the only person in my family who was born in the U.S. I've always felt, like, kind of weird about that. So, I generally kind of lump myself in with the rest of them and hope no one noticed." Since she was both Mexican and Cuban, she experiences difficulties selecting one. I asked Diane, the only participant to reject all labels, the following question: Many times, when we fill out official for ms, such as drivers' licenses, or when we register at schools, we are asked to select a race and an ethnicity. When you face such a question, what race and ethnicity do you select? She responded, "Um when I fill out forms, I fill out Hispanic." The next q uestion I asked was, When making these selections, do you find it difficult to make up your mind between categories to mark in the forms? She responded, "I feel difficulty when I'm speaking to other people. When it's a piece of paper, I have no problem sel ecting because it's a very categorized system." Later in the


75 interview, I asked if she experienced pressure from other people, directly or indirectly, to select an ethnic label, she replied "Um, yes. When I wouldn't make up my mind." I asked if the pressur e came from the categories too, and she said, The forms mostly but you can't really talk to the forms. Mostly people, my friends or when someone would just ask me where are you from? Like, they'd tell me which one is it? And I'll just go on and give them more explanation until they give up cause I don't think it's one or the other. Evidently, for Diane forms provide a rigid set of categories. There hardly ever is a space to elaborate on your selection on forms and this is well known to her. The forms do not allow for racial and ethnic formation as easily as everyday interaction. In conversations with people, you can describe your ethnic identity in detail. However, people would insist on a simple answer that resembles something the forms ask you to check Perhaps these forms are shaping the way some people, who may check a box more easily, think of race and ethnicity. By insisting that her ethno racial identity is more than what the categories offer is a way of challenging the existing racial and ethnic social structure. When I asked Alex, When making these selections, do you find it difficult to make up your mind between categories to mark in the forms? he responded no. As a follow up question, I asked, What makes you feel certain about your choices? A lex said, "Having visited my family in their native countries and seen and interacted with them in such ways has made me sure that I come from a Hispanic culture and that is, um, what I would classify myself as under that system." "Under that system" impli es that there could be other ways to categorize people. When I asked Danielle is she found it difficult to make up her mind between categories to make in forms, she said no, saying that there is no way that wasn't Hispanic and she knows she's mixed race so it's an easy decision. This information shows that they clearly understand who is included on the categories on


76 forms and they do fit in these categories. However, their preference is some more revealing of their ethno racial identity. All participants had plenty to say when it came to why they choose to use certain labels and they all presented reasons of how labels have been problematic in their lives. For example, some of my participants felt uneasy identifying themselves with the term Hispanic becaus e of the image of a cohesive Hispanic/Latino community, which they do not feel connected to. Likewise, some of the people who preferred the country specific identity felt Hispanic and Latino are too broad and homogenous as well as too embedded with stereot yping and prejudice to feel comfortable using it. Nevertheless, all of my participants check the Hispanic or Latino box when asked. Given the ambivalence with the label, one must wonder most do not simply reject the label by selecting other. Instead, the y all choose the pan ethnic label. The social environment in which we live does push us into these imposed categories, even when they do not reflect who we are. Having grown up with these categories throughout their lives, the racial and ethnic categories are so clearly understood and rigid that all of the participants knew where they belonged even if they had problems with it. Since the 1970s, Hispanic has been used to classify those with family origins from Latin America and Spain. My participants are you ng adults who have experienced the use of the term throughout their lives. Perhaps older second generation immigrants may have had to learn the term, while today's young adult population does not experience a shift. Tovar and Feliciano (2009) find that th e second generation is more likely to use multiple labels. Some participants expressed that they would check all that applied,' as the common wording says, for race. The categories offered are not consistent in all forms


77 people encounter. Danielle explain s that when race and ethnicity are separated, she selects Black and White for race as well as Hispanic or Latino for ethnicity. Race, rather than ethnicity, is the category where flexibility is currently allowed. Interestingly, due to the lack of consisten cy in forms on racial and ethnic categorizations, people provide situational selections for their identities to match the options the forms allow. Differences between the terms Hispanic and Latino All participants except two select Hispanic on official fo rms. The two who do not select Hispanic instead prefer a country specific term. The participants were Cuban and Dominican, which are options that appear on some forms. The forms that specify countries usually only provide limited options with a focus on th e larger Hispanic populations of the U.S. : Mexicans/Chicanos, Cuban, Dominican or Puerto Rican ( Caribbean Hispanics ) and Other Hispanic Nonetheless, most of the participants select Hispanic on official forms and also preferred it to Latino. As you might already know, the terms have different origins. When I asked about the differences and preference between the terms Hispanic and Latino, all participants except one felt there was no difference between the terms Hispanic and Latino but favored the term His panic rather than Latino. The exception was Danielle (who prefers situational labels) who knew of the histories of the terms. The other participants thought Hispanic and Latino were the same but preferred Hispanic, although they said that they did not unde rstand why. Some participants mentioned that they did not like the word Latino. One participant has heard the term Latino used in a mocking fashion and did not feel comfortable with it. Another thinks that the Latino is used for


78 pop culture icons while Hi s panics is used for real people One provided an alternative definition of the term that he would not define himself as. There were no consistent reasons for liking or disliking either term. At least among the people who contacted me to participate in my s tudy, there seems to be a lack of awareness for the meanings that activists and academics place on the terms. Although participants seem to understand that there may be some difference between the terms, they seem to not know the histories behind the terms Their understandings of the differences between the terms seem to come from their observations of the contexts in which each term is used which later becomes the meaning of the term Latino A partial explanation is that all of my participants were from t he east coast of the U.S. where the frequently used term is Hispanic as opposed to the west coast where the frequently used term is Latino (Oboler, 1995). Perhaps education on the history of this minority group in the U.S. is not reaching everyone, even pe ople who are attending college and are clas sified or classify themselves as belonging to this minority group. Additionally, those who opposed Latino saw similar to the term Hispanic where it came from someone or someplace else and likewise did not reflect who they are. They preferred the term because they had heard it frequently and it was how they and others classified them. Location Matters: Neighborhoods The neighborhoods that the participants grew up in are a large part of the formation of their ident ities. For those participants raised in South Florida, specifically Broward and Miami Dade counties, they all referred to Miami as helping to shape their


79 ethnic identities. Participants who identified as ambivalently Hispanic did not grow up or live in the se two counties and two grew up in affluent, mostly White areas. There were two participants, Julia and Nicole, who did not grow up in these areas who identified with Hispanic and a country specific label and neither grew up in an area with a strong Hispan ic/Latino presence. In these cases, the role of family was important and served as the only way they could gather an understanding of their ethnic identity. Miami is a place where the Latin American and Caribbean presence is very strong, where participant s' and parents' cultures are typically the numerical majority. During their childhoods, participants interacted with people who were from the Caribbean (including Cuban, Haitians, but also people from other countries) and people from other origins. They ex pressed how moving to college made them realize that where they grew up was different from how everyone else grew up. Bonnie expressed how she didn't notice how the Latin American culture was part of everyday life until she came to Sarasota. The move from being part of the numerical majority to an area with a smaller Hispanic/Latino presence caused them to reexamine the contexts in which they were raised as well as further explore their ethnic identities. Fiona mentioned location as the primary reason for h er strong identification with her Cuban ancestry. In regards to why she feels certain about being Cuban, Fiona said, It definitely has to be that you know I grew up in Miami where there's a very strong Hispanic community and I grew up with my grandparents functioning as second parents to me I feel like the Cuban community really influenced growing up and it still does and I grew up in that. And I feel it's something I wasn't aware of for a long time but moving to Sarasota where it's not here anymore you k ind of realize hmm that's not how like every city is. Several participants mentioned knowing many Hispanics/Latinos of various generations and countries, allowing them to acknowledge the differences between these groups.


80 Kasinitz et al (2008) has said t hat having a proximal group helps determine label use for Puerto Ricans in New York City. They identify more as Puerto Rican than Hispanic or Latino since they are near Dominicans and South Americans. Phinney et al (2001) argue that ethnic identity is like ly to be more accepted when immigrants are in a strong supportive ethnic community. Those who grew up in areas other than South Florida expressed how they did not know too many Hispanics growing up. Alex grew up in a mostly white neighborhood and grew up with mostly white friends in the west coast of Florida Likewise, Nicole grew up in an area consisting of mostly Whites. Julia lived in an area with a lot of minorities and then moved twice to whiter neighborhoods. The presence of minority groups and speci fically Hispanics/Latinos was low. Compared to the Miami participants, these participants perhaps did not experience different nationalities and countries. Current Political Environment for Hispanics/Latinos The interview guide did not mention anything political, although racial and ethnic categorization are linked to politics. Some participants mentioned the current political environment for their ethnic group, which can be helpful in understanding how they feel others perceive them. The participant w ho rejected labels, Diane, mentioned several times how race and ethnicity is conceptualized in the United States, Honduras, and Mexico. When asked if she thinks her physical appearance affects how people perceive her ethnicity, she states, Ummm. Well I guess yes, my mother is very white. She actually looks Caucasian. And My father is very has very tan skin. He would be known as Moreno. Um, so whenever I'm in a Hispanic country, people see me as gringo, as an American, because of my pale skin color. When I'm here, my skin's actually


81 darker than most Caucasian so I'm seen as Hispanic. So it all depends on where I am but either way, you always end up as the outsider. The way people understood race and ethnicity changed depending on the country she was in. When comparing the countries she's lived in to the U.S., she states, "Uh, yes because I feel like there's a lot more prejudice here. And they're a lot more aware of your race." It seems to me that these changes in how people perceived her and her family ga ve her a good reason to explore what her ethnicity means to her. Danielle mentioned how Latinos are lumped together in one category for census term but she does not think of the Hispanic/Latinos group being really reflective of her. She states, When I'm reading the news and they come up with some statistic like however many percent of Latinos do this... and they talk about Mexicans in California And then that case, I'll be like okay well that's them. I'm here." She stresses that not every Latino can be combined into one group, for statistical purposes for example, because there are country and regional differences. As mentioned previously, Alex identifies with the term Hispanic for political reasons. He looks at the problems Hispanics have and tries to work towards solutions to them. When I asked Bonnie if she feels her future is tied to the future of other Hispanics and Latinos, she states, "I don't necessarily think entirely [it is], which is, I mean I'm certainly happy with successes within the His panic community. I'd love to see a Hispanic president, for instance, but I don't feel like I can't succeed without one." Furthermore, she discusses how Mexicans are viewed, Um, I kinda tell some friends of mine "it's not cool to hate blacks anymore, it's cool to hate Hispanics" and it just so happens that Mexicans, being the closest, have gotten, really, the short end of the stick as far as that goes. So, anytime I hear any kind of racial comment, it's usually Mexican, which I just so happen to be.


82 At the end of the interview, When I asked if she had any additional comments or experiences that would help me understand how and why she identifies ethnically and racially the way she does, she told a story about one day when she was tutoring, a student came in late after missing several days of the sessions. She was not supposed to let her in but as she spoke to her mother, she saw that the mother was very shy about speaking Spanish, did not understand English and was backing away when she didn't understand. Sh e let the girl in the class ultimately because she saw the hardships that her family was going through since they did not know English but they desire to give her the best education they could receive. In regards to racism and discrimination, she stated, T he more [racism] becomes prevalent in our society, the easier I found to identify as a Mexican. Even as a Hispanic, just because I feel like it's about time to come out of the woodwork type thing when people lives are being put at stake. With all the anti immigration stuff that's going on it's hard for me to sit by and not necessarily even do the most minimal effort, which would be to kind of identify and sympathize with these people And, times like that I find it really important and really easy to ident ify as a Hispanic American / Hispanic person because it's important to look out for each other in a climate where it's not the general consensus to necessarily to look out for Hispanics or really care about [their] well being. Clearly, the participants a re aware of the political aspects of selecting an ethnic label. In some way, this influences how they identify although it's not always the main factor. Although my research question focuses on the personal aspects of ethnic label identification, politic al factors may be another contributing factor in ethnic label selection. However, not every participant mention politics, therefore it is not possible to draw conclusions in how their selections are politically based.


83 Identity Salience At the end of ea ch interview, I asked a series of questions to see how strongly participants identified with their ethnic group. Most said it was "fairly important." Bonnie mentioned, "Almost somewhere between somewhat and very. It's important enough but I don't kind of w ear it everyday. Like, it's not some killer part of my life but it's important to me." It is interesting that participants responded that it was somewhat important. It seems to me that their ethnic identity is one part of their identity and there may be ot her parts that they consider more important to them than their ethnicity. Diane considered it to be "very important," stating, I think it's very important because it defines a lot of my own personal characteristics. Like, the importance I give to my frien ds, my family even my selection when it comes to food. I feel like it's a huge part of my identity. Others who stated that it was important specified that their parents' countries of origin were important to them, rather than the Hispanic/Latino identit y. Diane, however, did not specify which was more important although since she rejects labels, I would assume she means that her ethnic identity is important to her, which is a combination of her transnational experiences. Bonnie felt her ethnic identity w as something somewhat important, in that it is important to who she is but isn't the only thing about her. She mentioned that she thinks about being a woman and also being Hispanic. When asked, Can you tell me more about why the change in the way you think about your identity happened? Bonnie responded, I think it was just kind of a part of growing up and realizing that you're more than just one thing. You know, I can be more than I'm I can be more than just Mexican, I can be more than just a woman. And, so, kind of, just being able to see that and building a bit of self confidence such that I don't have to rely so heavily on one label or another.


84 Interestingly, being a woman and Hispanic/Latino are categories that people are born into, or, assigned based on physical characteristics. She states that she feels no need to heavily rely on one label or another to encompass who she is. The importance of their identity is mixed. Some say that it is extremely important to who they are. Others say that it is sim ply one part of their identity. There appeared to be no evident trends in responses according to what ethnic label they preferred. Ethnic Identity in Relation to Others Almost all of the participants mentioned other people helping, influencing or pressu ring their ethnic identity. These interactions with other people impacted their understanding of their identity. The three main people or experiences the participants mentioned were: being labeled as being different, family, and awareness of discrimination People partially understood themselves through the way other people viewed them. Family was the main avenue (and the only avenue for some) through which participants acquired knowledge about their ethnicity. Every participant mentioned how family was e xtremely important in their selections, regardless of whether they did or did not identify strongly with their parents' native countries. Being labeled as being different was part of all of the participants' experiences. As discussed earlier, Diane mentio ned that she felt different in each country. She was seen as a "gringa" in Mexico and Honduras and a minority in the U.S. When I asked her if she felt there was a difference between her racial and ethnic identity, she provided the following information,


85 Whenever I'm in a Hispanic country, people see me as gringo, as an American, because of my pale skin color. When I'm here, my skin's actually darker than most Caucasian so I'm seen as Hispanic. So it all depends on where I am but either way, you always end up as the outsider. It is important to note that wherever she lived, she was considered an outsider because of the color of her skin. Diane encountered different ways of understanding race and ethnicity. These encounters with other people caused her to t hink about her ethnicity. Similarly, she mentioned how she was treated in other countries. She states, Most of all, I've just learned from their reactions, I guess. Like their reactions to someone who is moved around a lot or how people treat me different ly when they think I'm Caucasian or when they think I'm Hispanic. It's mostly an external influence. Like in Mexico, I was treated when they thought I was American. And when I told them I was Honduran, they actually liked me better. [laugh] Because all of a sudden they thought I was modest. Danielle mentioned that when she was younger she identified as white but then other people mentioned that she has a wide nose so then she began selecting a mixed race. She thought she was white because that was the col or of her skin but other people did not see her as white. Although I classified a group of my participants as using situational mechanisms for their identities, all of the interviewees had interpersonal experiences that influenced how they think of themse lves racially and ethnically. Yet, only that group shifts their identities depending on the circumstances. The rest tend toward less situational sense of identity and primarily identified with their preferred ethnic label. Stages of Ethnic Identity Eth nic identity is defined as the degree to which individuals understand their ethnicity, what their ethnic group membership means to them, and whether they identify


86 with their ethnic group (Phinney, 1996). Based on Phinney's stages of ethnic identity formati on (1996) addressed in Chapter two, I hypothesized that participants who have not explored their ethnic identities will likely not be able to give clear, thought out responses to the interview questions. The participants are more likely to identify with te rms that they commonly heard or that their parents used. Ethnicity in the first stage is unclear, unexplored and not salient. They use the terms and definitions their parents use or what they have commonly heard to understand their ethnic identity. A few participants who selected both pan ethnic and country specific labels provided limited and factual answers to the interview questions. Presumably, t hey could have felt that no additional information was needed or that they could not supply any additional information. Moreover, they could have felt uncomfortable providing the information. These participants tended to not provide information about thinking through their ethnicity, Yet, Diane has clearly spent time thinking about it. As mentioned previously one reason for this is because she has moved to various places in her life, including Mexico, Miami and Honduras. She discussed the reactions of other people to her when she lived in a new area. She was called gringa in Mexico and Honduras and a minority in the United States. This moving around to different countries during her childhood encouraged her to think deeply about her identity in these various contexts. All seemed to feel limiting and too simplistic. It made her realize that she is somewhat of a n outsider in all of these areas while encouraging her to ponder over defining what her identity actually is.


87 At the time of the interview Julia was in the exploratory state of her ethnic identity. A trip to the Dominican Republic last summer caused her to explore what being Hispanic/Latino may mean to her. She was thinking about what her father's ancestry means to her. Her father was not present during her childhood and her Italian American mother told her to mark Hispanic on the forms. The way she think s about her ethnic identity will likely change as she further understands and searches for what this family heritage might mean to her. Many participants expressed that the main changes in their ethnic identity occurred when they were "growing up." Many m entioned middle and high school as the time were they explored their ethnicity. As mentioned in the literature review chapter, adolescents experience a time where their ethnicity is unexamined and then they begin to enter an exploratory period. At this sta ge, people explore the history of their group and what it means in regards to the larger society. Since all participants were in college where this exploration takes place, their ethnic identity is likely to be in this stage. Tovar and Feliciano (2009) fou nd that college educated students were more likely to develop stronger ethnic identities than those who did not attend college. As an example, I asked Fiona if there had been any changes in the way she thinks about her identity. She responded, Yeah, it's definitely changed. I mean when I was younger because I was surrounded by others with similar backgrounds to me, you just don't think about it at all. I knew that I was Cuban I just didn't think about [it] when I was younger and especially when I was livi ng in Miami. It wasn't until I went to [college] and I expected [it] to be the same kind of makeup as I had always been used to and I looked around and I thought "oh this isn't the same [laugh] as it was before." And I think that that's when I started to identify more strongly as Cuban. As it became clearer to me that it was such like a small ethnic group in the U.S. comparatively speaking you put things in perspective


88 In the third stage, people securely understand themselves as members of their ethnic group. They feel comfortable with belonging to their ethnic group and other aspects of their lives may become more important. This would explain some of the differences in identity importance, discussed in the last chapter. Conclusion Ultimately, we see that ethno racial identities are complex and influenced by primarily by family and Latin American community presence in the neighborhoods participants grew up. They provide specific reasons for choosing their preference (or lack of) but ultimately are flexible in the way they identify. Overall, the use of pan ethnic labels is not preferred. Some report difficulties deciding between terms and all but one doesn't know the differences between the terms Hispanic and Latino. The current political environment for Hispanics/Latinos plays a factor in ethnic label selection for some, but not all. Likewise, everyone reported various ranges of identity salience and this saliency is visible in different stages in their ethnic identity formation. Through this data, w e see the in depth thought processes involved in selecting a label. Furthermore, none of this information is captured when someone selects a race, ethnicity or race/ethnicity category on forms.


89 Chapter Five: Conclusion Throughout this thesis, I've developed the idea that pan ethnic labels are problematic because they transform complex personal identities into alleged fundamental and basic traits. Academic literature on second generation immigrant s, ethnic identity, and ethnic labels shows that identities are more complex than the categories imply The participants in my study likewise show that personal identification is different from political or governmental classifications. The differences bet ween ethnic self identifications and political classifications prove that identity, broadly, functions as both expressive and instrumental (Song, 2003). E thnic identity is a personal experience that has been generalized through broad categorization (Song, 2003). Categorizations differ from internal identity and what it's like to be categorized for this group W hen there is a conflict between external and internal definitions of self, people simply check the external category while knowing there is more to t heir ethnicity than the box can capture. In my study, I explored both the choice to identify on the basis of externally given labels and the personal sense of identity. N ine of 11 participants selected the term Hispanic on official forms although each pre ferred self identifying as something else or ambivalently selected Hispanic. Politicians have used ethnic group identity for political purposes such as claiming to work for the interests of the minority group. Alternatively, ethnic groups take on the lab els they are classified as for political purposes, seeking the satisfaction of their needs and interests. Others are willing to use the term s to create bridges across differences to bring unity and solidarity among disparate people. Therefore, people emplo y the pan ethnic term s because these are inclusive of various groups, ha ve multiple meanings and

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90 lack precision (Park, 2008) hence allowing for some degree of political unification However, due to the various identities pan ethnic terms are not represen tative of true unification (Park, 2008). Therefore, the stress between self identification and external identification needs to be explored since this stress that has led to various changes in the external classifications and eventually to changes in the w ay race and ethnic relations are experienced in the U.S. Labels and categorization are something that we all experience, regardless of racial grouping. The typical Census categories of Whites, Asians, African Americans, and Native Americans all experience a similar homogenization as Hispanics do My study has shown that preferred labels are different from broader categorizations found on forms. Additionally, the children of immigrants are not the classic examples of mislabeled people. Instead, the discussi on has arisen from bi and multi racial people. Therefore, differences between internal and external definitions of self are likely to exist outside of this racial/ethnic group. In the Introduction, I stated that the ways in which personal and interperson al ethnic identities are formed and conceptualized could change how we think of race and ethnicity in the future. The data has shown that people view themselves as something other than the broader racial categories. Therefore, a big question for me remains that if the second generation is choosing to identify in different ways than the categories forms provide, will the categorization change as they have in the past ? If the Census forms attempt to capture the changing demographics in the country, will the categories soon reflect personal identifications even though the people continue to select the categories

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91 offered? We will have to see if these differences in self identification eventually shift ethnic and racial categorization in the future. Further Re search My research is only one part of the larger discussion of race and ethnicity. Although my research focused on the personal and interpersonal aspects of ethnic identities and ethnic and pan ethnic label(s) selections, there is still more to be explo red. The government creates terms and categories that then determine the distribution of resources and nationwide racial classifications and legitimize racial and ethnic groups. Omi and Winant (1986:4) write, The census's racial classifications reflects p revailing conceptions of race, establishes boundaries by which one's racial "identity" can be understood, determines the allocation of resources, and frames diverse political issues and conflicts. Therefore, a topic for further research is to explore what it means politically to select an inaccurate category while identifying as something else

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92 Appendix One: Interview Guide Date: Starting Time: Ending Time: Location: Pseudonym: You are being asked to participate in this interview because I am interested in how children of immigrants make sense of their ethno racial identities and labels. The purpose of this interview is to talk about how you identify in terms of ethnicity and race, why you identify in such ways, and what things or experiences you feel may have shaped or continue to shape these identities. Your participation is completely vo luntary and confidential. You can pick a pseudonym for yourself or if you prefer, I can assign you one now. You can refuse to answer any questions you don't want to and can stop at any time. Family and Childhood Experience First, I'm going to ask you a bout your family and childhood and how they shaped your identity. 1. What are your family origins? Ask, if not mentioned: "Where is your Mother/Father from?" 2. What languages were spoken inside your home when you were growing up? Do you still speak that lan guage(s)? When are you most likely to speak that language? 3. How did your family talk about their native countries when you were growing up? 4. Describe the neighborhood or neighborhoods that you grew up in.

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93 Probes: Was it urban or suburban? What languages were spoken? What was the income range of residents? What was the racial/ethnic diversity of the area? Where did you grow up? 5. How much contact did you have with groups that had different racial/ethnic backgrounds than you? 6. Think about your close friendsh ips during your childhood. What races and ethnicities were most of your friends? Personal Ethnic Identity Now we are moving to questions related to your ethnic identity. In our society, we usually group people into different social categories such as g ender, economic status, and race/ethnicity. Some of these may be more important to you than others but I want to focus on race and ethnicity and how you see yourself in these groups or categories. 7. Many times, when we fill out official forms, such as driv ers' licenses, or when we register at schools, we are asked to select a race and an ethnicity. When you face such a question, what race and ethnicity do you select? Only suggest categories similar to racial/ethnic categories in the Census (White, Africa n American, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Native American/American Indian, Other) if participant is unsure of what I am asking.

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94 8. When making these selections, do you find it difficult to make up your mind between categories to mark in the forms ? If yes, why? If no, what makes you feel certain about your choices? 9. Are there differences between your racial and your ethnic identity? 10. In your mind, is there a difference between the terms Hispanic and Latino? Do you have preference for one or the other? Why? 11. Wh en referring to their ethnic identity, some people prefer to identify with specific countries while others prefer the broader identities such as being Latino or being Hispanic. Which do you feel more inclined toward, the country identity or the Latino/Hisp anic identity? Why? Probes: If preference is pan ethnic label: Do you share some sense of belonging to a more country specific group? Are there any circumstances in which you would choose to use your country specific identity? If no, then move on.

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95 If ye s, could you tell me more what have been, or may be, those instances when you rather present your self through the country specific identity? 12. How important is this identity to you, (that is, what you call yourself (circle one))? Not important, Somewhat i mportant, Very important 13. In your lifetime have you always identified with [name preferred label to reconnect to answer in Q 11] or have there been changes in how you think about your identity? Can you tell me more about why that change took place? 14. Did growing up with both your parents affect your decision to choose this label? How so? 15. Did growing up in US culture also affect your decision to choose this label? How so? 16. We've talked a little about your life within US culture and your parents' cultures. Are there any other experiences or people that have influenced the way you think of your ethnic and racial identity? Outside Pressures Ethnic Group Membership and Pan Ethnic Labels Now, I want to ask you some more about being Hispanic/Latino broadly an d what this may mean to you.

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96 17. How often do you think about being a Hispanic/Latino (use label person prefers)? 18. How often do you think about what you have in common with other Latinos/Hispanics ? 19. How often do you think about being country specific lab e l (use label person prefers)? 20. How often do you think about what you have in common with country specific label ? 21. Is your future tied to the future of other Hispanics/Latinos? 22. Is your future tied to the future of other country specific label? 23. How prou d do you feel when other [name preferred group] s accomplish something worthwhile? 24. Is the race/ethnicity that you identify with different from the race/ethnicity that other people tend to identify you as? 25. Do you think that your physical appearance affects how people perceive your ethnicity? How so?

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97 26. Have you experienced pressure from other people directly or indirectly, to select a certain ethnic term? If yes, how so? Final Remarks 27. Are there any additional comments or experiences you'd like to share to help me understand how and why you identify ethnically and racially the way you do?

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98 Demographic Information We are almost done, but I have some final basic demographic questions. 28. What is your gender? 29. What income group best identifies your family inco me? Less than $25,000 $25,000 $49,999 $50,000 $74,999 $75,000 $99,999 $100,000 and above 30. Are you currently a student? Yes No 31. What is the highest level of education you have completed? Elementary school or less Middle school graduate or less Some high school High school graduate Associate Degree Some college or university College graduate Some graduate school Graduate school or more

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99 32. Is there anyone you could refer me to who may be willing to take part in this study? Name: Relation: Phon e number: Email address: Name: Relation: Phone number: Email address: Name: Relation: Phone number: Email address: Name: Relation: Phone number: Email address: Thank you very much!

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100 Appendix Two: Participant Recruitment Advertisements (E mails and Flyers) Hello, I am a senior at New College of Florida and in the process of conducting research for my Senior Thesis, which explores ethnic identity formation among Hispanic or Latino sec ond generation immigrants (children of immigrants). If you are between 18 25 years old, born in the United States but one (or both) of your parents was born in a Spanish speaking country or territory, I request your kindness in participating in my study. T he interview will involve a 45 60 minute confidential and voluntary conversation about your experiences and thoughts regarding your ethnic identity. You will be given a $10 Barnes & Noble gift certificate for your time. If you are interested or know someon e who would like to participate, write or call me (in English or Spanish) at: or 954 309 3138. Thank you. Maria Duenas Sociology Undergraduate Student New College of Florida Sarasota, FL (954) 309 3138 Hola, Soy una estudiante de ultimo a–o en New College of Florida y para mi tesis, busco alcanzar un mejor entendimiento de c—mo los inmigrantes de segunda generaci—n (personas nacidas en USA pero de padres inmigrant es) definen su identidad Žtnica. Si usted es entre 18 y 25 a–os de edad, nacido en Estados Unidos, pero sus padres (uno o ambos) nacieron en un pa’s o territorio donde se habla el espa–ol, agradezco su ayuda en mi estudio. Recibir‡s una tarjeta de regalo a Barnes & Noble valorado en $10 por su tiempo. Si le interesa o si conoce a alguie n que podr’a participar, por f avor escr’bame un correo electr— nico o ll‡mame (en ingles o en espa–ol) a: o 954 309 3138. Gracias. Mar’a Due–as Estud iante de Licenciatura en Sociolog’a New College of Florida Sarasota, FL (954) 309 3138

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101 Are you a child of an immigrant? Please participate in my study about ethnic identity among second generation immigrants. I am a Senior at New College of Florida. For my Senior thesis, I seek to better understand how Second Generation immigrants (US born children of immigrants) define their ethnic identity. I am interviewing people between the ages of 18 25 who were born in the United States but whose parents (one or both of them) were born in a Spanish speaking country or territory. Preferably the parti cipants will have lived or are currently living in Sarasota and/or Manatee counties. You will be given a $10 Barnes & Noble gift certificate for your time. If you are interested or know someone who would like to participate, write or call me (in English o r Spanish) at: or 954 309 3138. Thank you for your help! Maria Duenas Es hijo o hija de un inmigrante? Por favor participe en mi estudio sobre la identidad Žtnica de la segunda generaci—n de inmigrantes. Soy una estudiante de ultimo a–o en New College of Florida. Para mi tesis busco alcanzar un mejor entendimiento de c—mo los inmigrantes de segunda generaci—n (personas nacidas en USA pero de padres inmigrantes) definen su identidad Žtnica. Estoy entrevistando a personas que tienen entre 18 y 25 a–os de edad, quienes nacieron en Estados Unidos, pero cuyos padres (uno o ambos de ellos) nacieron en un pa’s o territorio donde se habla el espa–ol. Los participantes preferentemente han vivido, o siguen viviendo en los condados de Sarasota y Manatee. Recibir‡s una tarjeta de regalo a Barnes & Noble valorado en $10 por su tiempo. Si le interesa o si conoce a alguien que podr’a participar, por favor escr’bame un correo electr—nico o ll‡meme (en in gles o en espa–ol) a: o 954 309 3138. Gracias por su ayuda! Mar’a Due–as

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102 References Brodiem, Mollyann, Roberto Suro, Annie Steffenson, Jaime Valdez and Rebecca Levin. 2002. National Survey of Latinos. Menlo Park, California and Washington, D.C.: Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Pew Hispanic Center. Center for Immigration Research. 1995. "Three Decades of Mass Immigration: The Legacy of the 1965 Immigration Act," Retrieved February 27, 2010. Clark, Margaret, Sharon Kaufman and Robert C. Pierce. 1976. "Explorations of Acculturation: Toward A Model of Ethnic Identity." Huma n Organization 35(3):231 238. Fry, Richard and Jeffrey S. Passel. 2009. Latino Children: A Majority Are U.S. Born Offspring of Immigrants. Washington, D.C.: PEW Hispanic Center. Gans, Herbert. 1992. "Second Generation Decline: Scenarios for the Economic and Ethnic Futures of the Post 1965 American Immigrants." Ethnic and Racial Studies 15(2):173. Golash Boza, Tanya and William Darity Jr. 2008. "Latino racial choices: the effects of skin colour and discrimination on Latinos' and Latinas' racial self ident ifications." Ethnic and Racial Studies 31(5):899 934. Gurin, Patricia, Timothy Peng, Gretchen Lopez and Biren A. Nagda. 1999. "Context, Identitity, and Intergroup Relations." in Cultural Divides: Understanding and

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