Skip to main content

Ricochet: How Elite Discourse Politicizes Racial and Ethnic Identities

Abstract

Political elites often discuss racial/ethnic outgroups in a critical light. I claim this discourse raises the salience of group identity while impugning its worth, thus inducing differential political reactions among high and low identifying group members. Specifically, high identifiers will engage in political efforts that restore their identity’s positive value by displaying ingroup favoritism and challenging the source of their group’s devaluation. In contrast, low identifiers will actively decline political opportunities to bolster their group’s devalued status. Using a national survey experiment, I randomly assigned eligible but unregistered Latino voters to a control group without elite discourse; a non-devaluing condition with elite discourse focused on illegal immigration; or, a devaluing condition with elite discourse focused on illegal immigration and critical of illegal immigrants. High identifying Latinos in the devaluing condition expressed greater pro-Latino political attitudes and a stronger intention to register and vote in a pending presidential election. This dynamic was absent in the other conditions and unrelated to Latinos’ partisan identity. These results suggest an identity-to-politics link is robustly forged among high identifying group members when they sense a devaluation of their group.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Notes

  1. I use identification, commitment, and attachment interchangeably throughout the paper (cf. Ellemers et al. 2002).

  2. My use of social identity theory and self-categorization theory emphasizes the synergy between both lines of work. This does not mean there are no differences between them (Huddy 2001).

  3. This is not to say that “Reluctants” and “Recruits” are not worthy of systematic study. However, time and resource constraints limited my ability to simultaneously examine all three of these Latino sub-electorates within a single study. For example, studying “Reluctants” would require items (e.g., decision to naturalize) that could not be added without removing other questions essential to my hypothesis tests (i.e., Latino identity).

  4. Besides age and citizenship status, prior criminal history can bar people from voting, though there is wide variation in how states apply this last criterion (Uggen et al. 2012). Given this topic’s sensitivity, I did not ask about criminal history to avoid affecting data quality through lower cooperation rates and/or attrition. Using available data, I assess some of the tradeoffs of my decision (Table B, in Supporting Information). Those results suggest the effects I uncover are, at worst, conservative estimates of the phenomenon I am interested in.

  5. In the full sample, the distribution of identity strength is: 26 %-(strongly agree); 27 %-(somewhat agree); 21 %-(somewhat disagree); and 26 %-(strongly disagree), with no reliable difference in identity levels between unregistered Latinos (M = 2.42) and all other Latinos in the survey (M = 2.48) (t = 0.68, p = 0.50).

  6. Beyond Garcia Bedolla (2005), others have shown that the association between Latinos and illegal immigration is regularly transmitted by news media. For example, in other research, I show that news reports on Latino illegal immigration outweigh reports on Latino legal immigration by a ratio of about 90–10 % (Pérez 2013a). This pattern is part of a larger trend in contemporary U.S. immigration news coverage, which often focuses on Latino rather than non-Latino groups (Valentino et al. 2013).

  7. The polychoric correlation between both items is robust and reliable (ρ = 0.42, P < 0.001). This index originally ran continuously from 2 to 8 in 1-point increments. I transform this scale to run continuously from 0 to 1 to facilitate the interpretation of my pending interactive results (Kam and Franzese 2007, p. 20–21; Achen 1982, p. 77).

  8. Due to rounding, these percentages sum to 99 %, rather than 100 %.

  9. That is, individuals in each experimental condition are alike in all observable and unobservable characteristics, chance variations aside (Mutz 2011). Hence, there is less need to control for attributes that do not vary between individuals.

  10. Given the directional nature of my hypothesis—i.e., a positive interaction between identity and devaluing rhetoric—and the fact that this type of dynamic has been observed in independent lab studies done by social psychologists (Ellemers et al. 2002; Branscombe et al. 1999b), I use one-tailed significance tests when interpreting the pending interactive results. However, using two-tailed tests of significance leaves my conclusions unchanged.

  11. This proposed test is especially relevant here because ethnic and partisan identities are not randomly assigned, as it is difficult to experimentally manipulate identity levels in a way deemed externally valid by political scientists. Thus, consistent with prior studies utilizing SIT (e.g., Doosje et al. 1995, 1999), I examine the extent to which observed levels of Latino and partisan identity condition the response to my randomly assigned treatment.

  12. In fact, ancillary analyses reveal that this conclusion does not change if we compare Mexican Latinos to non-Mexican Latinos (Table C, in Supporting Information).

  13. Once again, ancillary analyses reveal that this conclusion does not change if we compare Mexican Latinos to non-Mexican Latinos (Table C, in Supporting Information)..

  14. Indeed, for pro-Latino attitude and register to vote, the interaction between ethnic identity and devaluing rhetoric yields effect sizes that are on the strong side. Cohen’s d values around 0.20, 0.50, and 0.80 are considered small, medium, and large, respectively (Cohen 1988). Both of my analyses yield Cohen’s d ≥ 0.75. For further information, see Table A (in Supporting Information)..

  15. One might wonder whether the dynamic I have unearthed explains other aspects of politics among all Latinos—not just those that are unregistered to vote. It appears to. In a separate study that examines registered and unregistered Latinos (Pérez 2013b), I find that devaluing rhetoric produces greater ethnocentrism among high identifying Latinos. Statistically, this pattern is no different among unregistered Latinos than among the fuller sample of Latinos (Table D, in Supporting Information). I thank reviewer 2 for constructive advice on this point.

References

  • Abrajano, M. A., & Alvarez, R. M. (2010). New faces, new voices: The Hispanic electorate in America. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Achen, C. H. (1982). Interpreting and using regression. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Armenta, B. E., & Hunt, J. S. (2009). Responding to societal devaluation: Effects of perceived personal and group discrimination on the ethnic group identification and personal self-esteem of Latino/Latina adolescents. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 12, 23–29.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Arvizu, J.R. (1994). National origin based variation of Latino voter turnout in 1988: Findings from the Latino National Political Survey. Working paper series no. 21. Tucson: Mexican American Studies and Research Center, University of Arizona.

  • Arvizu, J. R., & Garcia, F. C. (1996). Latino voting participation: Explaining and differentiating Latino voting turnout. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 18(2), 104–128.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Barreto, M. A., Manzano, S., Ramirez, R., & Rim, K. (2009). Mobilization, participation, and solidaridad: Latino participation in the 2006 immigration protest rallies. Urban Affairs Review, 44(5), 736–764.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brader, T., Valentino, N. A., & Suhay, E. (2008). What triggers public opposition to immigration? Anxiety, group cues, and immigration threat. American Journal of Political Science, 52(4), 959–978.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Branscombe, N. R., Ellemers, N., Spears, R., & Doosje, B. (1999a). The context and content of social identity threat. In N. Ellemers, R. Spears, & B. Doosje (Eds.), Social identity context, commitment, content (pp. 35–59). Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  • Branscombe, N. R., Schmitt, M. T., & Harvey, R. D. (1999b). Perceiving pervasive discrimination among African Americans: Implications for group identification and well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77(1), 135–149.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Branton, R. (2007). Latino attitudes toward various areas of public policy. Political Research Quarterly, 60(2), 293–303.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Calvo, M. A., & Rosenstone, S. J. (1989). Hispanic political participation. San Antonio: Southwest Voter Research Institute Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  • Census Bureau. (2011). The Hispanic population in the United States: 2010. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce.

  • Chang, G. H. (2001). Asian Americans and politics: Some perspectives from history. In G. H. Chang (Ed.), Asian Americans and politics: Perspectives, experiences, prospects (pp. 13–38). Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chavez, L. R. (2001). Covering immigration: Popular images and the politics of the nation. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chong, D., & Rogers, R. (2005). Racial solidarity and political participation. Political Behavior, 27(4), 347–374.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cronin, T. J., Levin, S., Branscombe, N. R., van Laar, C., & Tropp, L. R. (2012). Ethnic identification in response to perceived discrimination protects well-being and promotes activism: A longitudinal study of Latino college students. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 15(3), 393–407.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cruz, T. H., Marshall, S. W., Bowling, J. M., & Villaveces, A. (2008). The validity of a proxy acculturation scale among U.S. Hispanics. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 30(4), 425–446.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Danigelis, N. L. (1978). Black political participation in the United States: Some recent evidence. American Sociological Review, 43(5), 756–771.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dawson, M. C. (1994). Behind the mule: Race and class in African-American politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • DeSipio, L. (1996). Counting on the Latino vote: Latinos as a new electorate. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Doosje, B., Ellemers, N., & Spears, R. (1995). Perceived intragroup variability as a function of group status and identification. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 31, 410–436.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Doosje, B., Ellemers, N., & Spears, R. (1999). Commitment and intergroup behaviour. In N. Ellemers, R. Spears, & B. Doosje (Eds.), Social identity context, commitment, content (pp. 84–106). Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Doosje, B., Spears, R., & Ellemers, N. (2002). Social identity as both cause and effect: The development of group identification in response to anticipated and actual changes in the intergroup status hierarchy. British Journal of Social Psychology, 41, 57–76.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Druckman, J. N., & Kam, C. D. (2011). Students as experimental participants: A defense of the ‘narrow data base’. In J. N. Druckman, D. P. Green, J. H. Kuklinski, & A. Lupia (Eds.), Handbook of experimental political science (pp. 41–57). New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Ellemers, N., Barreto, M., & Spears, R. (1999). Commitment and strategic responses to social context. In N. Ellemers, R. Spears, & B. Doosje (Eds.), Social identity context, commitment, and content (pp. 127–146). Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ellemers, N., Spears, R., & Doosje, B. (1997). Sticking together or falling apart: In-group identification as a psychological determinant of group commitment versus individual mobility. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72(3), 617–626.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ellemers, N., Spears, R., & Doosje, B. (2002). Self and social identity. Annual Review of Psychology, 53, 161–186.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Elster, J. (1989). Nuts and bolts for the social sciences. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Ethier, K. A., & Deaux, K. (1994). Negotiating social identity when contexts change: Maintaining identification and responding to threat. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67(2), 243–251.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fowler, J. H., & Kam, C. D. (2007). Beyond the self: Social identity, altruism, and political participation. Journal of Politics, 69(3), 813–827.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fraga, L. R., Garcia, J. A., Hero, R. E., Jones-Correa, M., Martinez-Ebers, V., & Segura, G. M. (2006). Latino National Survey (LNS), 2006. Ann Arbor: Inter University Consortium for Political and Social Research.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fry, R., & Passel, J. S. (2009). Latino children: A majority are U.S.-born offspring of immigrants. Washington: Pew Hispanic Center.

    Google Scholar 

  • García, J. A. (2012). Latino politics in America: Community, culture, and interests (2nd ed.). Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  • Garcia Bedolla, L. (2005). Fluid borders: Latino power, identity, and politics in Los Angeles. Berkeley: UC Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gilens, M. (1999). Why Americans hate welfare: Race, media, and the politics of antipoverty policy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Gilliam, F. D., Jr. (1999). The welfare queen experiment. Nieman Reports, 53(2), 49–53.

    Google Scholar 

  • Grier, P. (2010). Sharron angle ad: Is it racist?. Washington: Christian Science Monitor.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hancock, A. (2004). The politics of disgust: The public identity of the welfare queen. New York: New York University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hero, R. E., & Campbell, A. G. (1996). Understanding Latino political participation: Exploring evidence from the Latino National Political Survey. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 18(2), 129–141.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Horowitz, D. L. (1985). Ethnic groups in conflict. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Huddy, L. (2001). From social to political identity: A critical examination of social identity theory. Political Psychology, 22(1), 127–156.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hutchings, V. L., Jardina, A. A., Walton, H., & Mickey, R. (2011). The politics of race: How threat cues and group position can activate white identity. Working paper. University of Michigan.

  • Jackson, L. A., Sullivan, L. A., Harnish, R., & Hodge, C. N. (1996). Achieving positive social identity: Social mobility, social creativity, and permeability of group boundaries. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70(2), 241–254.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jones-Correa, M., & Leal, D. L. (1996). Becoming “Hispanic”: Secondary panethnic identification among Latin American-Origin populations in the United States. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 18(2), 214–254.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Junn, J. (2006). Mobilizing group consciousness: When does ethnicity have political consequences? In T. Lee, S. K. Ramakrishnan, & R. Ramírez (Eds.), Transforming politics, transforming America: The political and civic incorporation of immigrants in the United States (pp. 32–47). Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Junn, J. (2007). From coolie to model minority: U.S. immigration policy and the construction of racial identity. Du Bois. Review, 4(2), 355–373.

    Google Scholar 

  • Junn, J., & Masuoka, N. (2008). Asian American identity: Shared racial status and political context. Perspectives on Politics, 6(4), 729–740.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kam, C. D., & Franzese, R. J. (2007). Modeling and interpreting interactive hypotheses in regression analysis. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kinder, D. R. (1998). Opinion and action in the realm of politics. In D. T. Gilbert, S. T. Fiske, & L. Gardner (Eds.), The handbook of social psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kinder, D. R., & Dale-Riddle, A. (2012). The end of race? Obama, 2008, and racial politics in America. New Haven: Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Knoll, B. R., Redlawsk, D. P., & Sanborn, H. B. (2011). Framing labels and immigration policy attitudes in the Iowa caucuses: ‘Trying to out-Tancredo Tancredo’. Political Behavior, 33(3), 433–454.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Leach, C. W., Rodriguez Mosquera, P. M., Vliek, M. L. W., & Hirt, E. (2010). Group devaluation and group identification. Journal of Social Issues, 66(3), 535–552.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lee, R. G. (1999). Orientals: Asian Americans in popular culture. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lee, T. (2008). Race, immigration, and the identity-to-politics link. Annual Review of Political Science, 11, 457–478.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Leighley, J. E., & Vedlitz, A. (1999). Race, ethnicity, and political participation: Competing models and contrasting explanations. Journal of Politics, 61(4), 1092–1114.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lien, P. (1994). Ethnicity and political participation: A comparison between Asian and Mexican Americans. Political Behavior, 16(2), 237–264.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Luhtanen, R., & Crocker, J. (1992). A collective self-esteem scale: Self-evaluation of one’s social identity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 18(3), 302–318.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Manzano, S., & Sanchez, G. R. (2010). Take one for the team? Limits of shared ethnicity and candidate preferences. Political Research Quarterly, 63(3), 568–580.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Marschall, M. (2001). Does the shoe fit? Testing models of participation for African American and Latino behavior in local politics. Urban Affairs Review, 37, 227–248.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McClain, P. D., Johnson Carew, J. D., Walton, E., Jr, & Watts, C. S. (2009). Group membership, group identity, and group consciousness: Measures of racial identity in American politics? Annual Review of Political Science, 12, 471–485.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Merolla, J. L., Pantoja, A. D., Cargile, I. A. M., & Mora, J. (2012). From coverage to action: The immigration debate and its effects on participation. Political Research Quarterly,. doi:10.1177/1065912912443313.

    Google Scholar 

  • Michelson, M. R. (2005). Meeting the challenge of Latino voter mobilization. Annals of Political and Social Science, 601, 85–101.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Miller, A. H., Gurin, P., Gurin, G., & Malanchuk, O. (1981). Group consciousness and political participation. American Journal of Political Science, 25(3), 494–511.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Miller, L., Polinard, J., & Wrinkle, R. (1984). Attitudes toward undocumented workers: The Mexican American perspective. Social Science Quarterly, 6, 482–494.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mutz, D. C. (2011). Population-based survey experiments. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nelson, T. E., & Kinder, D. R. (1996). Issue frames and group-centrism in American public opinion. Journal of Politics, 58(4), 1055–1078.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Olsen, M. (1970). Social and political participation of blacks. American Sociological Review, 35, 682–697.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pantoja, A., Ramirez, R., & Segura, G. M. (2001). Citizens by choice, voters by necessity: Patterns in political mobilization by naturalized Latinos. Political Research Quarterly, 54(4), 729–750.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pantoja, A. D., & Segura, G. M. (2003). Fear and loathing in California: Contextual threat and political sophistication among Latino voters. Political Behavior, 25(3), 265–286.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pérez, E. O. (2013a). Unspoken: Implicit attitudes and political thinking. Vanderbilt University (unpublished manuscript).

  • Pérez, E. O. (2013b). Xenophobic rhetoric and its political effects on immigrants and their co-ethnics. Working paper. Vanderbilt University.

  • Ramírez, R. (2005). Giving voice to Latino voters: A field experiment on the effectiveness of a national nonpartisan mobilization effort. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 601, 66–84.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ramírez, R., & Fraga, L. (2008). Continuity and change: Latino political incorporation in California since 1990. In S. Bass & B. E. Cain (Eds.), Racial and ethnic politics in California: Continuity and change. Berkeley: Berkeley Public Policy Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Riker, W. H., & Ordeshook, P. C. (1968). A theory of the calculus of voting. American Political Science Review, 62(1), 25–42.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sanchez, G. R. (2006). The role of group consciousness in political participation among Latinos in the United States. American Politics Research, 34(4), 427–450.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Santa Ana, O. (2002). Brown tide rising: Metaphors of Latinos in contemporary American public discourse. Austin: University of Texas Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sears, D. O., Van Laar, C., Carrillo, M., & Kosterman, R. (1997). Is it really racism? The origins of White Americans opposition to race-targeted policies. Public Opinion Quarterly, 61(1), 16–53.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sears, D. O., & Victoria, S. (2006). The political color line in America: Many “peoples of color” or Black exceptionalism? Political Psychology, 27(6), 895–924.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shadish, W., Cook, T. D., & Campbell, D. T. (2002). Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for generalized causal inference. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shaw, D., de la Garza, R. O., & Lee, J. (2000). Examining Latino turnout in 1996: A three-state, validated survey approach. American Journal of Political Science, 44(2), 338–346.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shingles, R. D. (1981). Black consciousness and political participation: The missing link. American Political Science Review, 75(1), 76–91.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sniderman, P. M., & Hagendoorn, L. (2007). When ways of life collide: Multiculturalism and its discontents in the Netherlands. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Spears, R., Doosje, B., & Ellemers, N. (1997). Self-stereotyping in the face of threats to group status and distinctiveness: The role of group identification. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23(5), 538–553.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Spears, R., Doosje, B., & Ellemers, N. (1999). Commitment and the context of social perception. In N. Ellemers, R. Spears, & B. Doosje (Eds.), Social identity context, commitment, content (pp. 59–83). Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Steele, C. M., Spencer, S. J., & Aronson, J. (2002). Contending with group image: The psychology of stereotype and identity threat. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 34, 379–440.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Taber, C. S. (2000). Information processing and public opinion. In D. O. Sears, L. Huddy, & R. Jervis (Eds.), Oxford handbook of political psychology (pp. 433–476). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tajfel, H., Billig, M. G., Bundy, R. P., & Flamente, C. (1971). Social categorization and intergroup behavior. European Journal of Social Psychology, 1(2), 149–178.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1979). An integrative theory of intergroup conflict. In W. G. Austin & S. Worchel (Eds.), The social psychology of intergroup relations (pp. 33–47). Monterey: Brooks/Cole.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tate, K. (1991). Black political participation in the 1984 and 1988 presidential elections. American Political Science Review, 85, 1160–1176.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Turner, J. C., Hogg, M. A., Oakes, P. J., Reicher, S. D., & Wetherell, M. S. (1987). Re-discovering the social group: A self-categorization theory. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Uggen, C., Shannon, S., & Manza, J. (2012). State-level estimates of felon disenfranchisement in the United States, 2020. Washington: The Sentencing Project.

    Google Scholar 

  • Uhlaner, C., Cain, B., & Kiewiet, D. R. (1989). Political participation of ethnic minorities in the 1980s. Political Behavior, 11(3), 195–231.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Valentino, N. A., Brader, T., & Jardina, A. (2013). Immigration opposition among U.S. whites: General ethnocentrism or media priming of attitudes about Latinos? Political Psychology, 34(2), 149–166.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Verba, S., & Nie, N. (1972). Participation in America. New York: Harper.

    Google Scholar 

  • Verba, S., Schlozman, K., & Brady, H. (1995). Voice and equality: Civic voluntarism in American politics. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Verba, S., Schlozman, K. L., Brady, H., & Nie, N. H. (1993). Race, ethnicity, and political resources: Participation in the United States. British Journal of Political Science, 23(4), 453–497.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wong, C., & Cho, G. E. (2005). Two-headed coins or kandinskys: White racial identification. Political Psychology, 26(5), 699–720.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zolberg, A. R., & Woon, L. L. (1999). Why Islam is like Spanish: Cultural incorporation in Europe and the United States. Politics and Society, 27, 5–38.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

I express my deepest gratitude to Cindy Kam for offering valuable advice and encouragement throughout this project. I also thank Lisa Garcia Bedolla, Jennifer Merolla, and Ricardo Ramírez for constructive feedback on an earlier version of this paper. Finally, for their insightful suggestions, I thank my reviewers and participants in the Center for New Institutional Social Sciences (CNISS) seminar at Washington University in St. Louis, and the Politics of Race, Immigration, and Ethnicity Consortium (PRIEC) meeting at U.C. Berkeley.

Conflict of interest

The author declares he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

This study complies with relevant U.S. laws.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Efrén O. Pérez.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 26 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Pérez, E.O. Ricochet: How Elite Discourse Politicizes Racial and Ethnic Identities. Polit Behav 37, 155–180 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11109-013-9262-0

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11109-013-9262-0

Keywords

  • Social identity theory (SIT)
  • Racial and ethnic politics
  • Latino politics
  • Survey experiments