Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 179–203

On Being a White Person of Color: Using Autoethnography to Understand Puerto Ricans' Racialization

  • Salvador Vidal-Ortiz

DOI: 10.1023/B:QUAS.0000020692.05355.6e

Cite this article as:
Vidal-Ortiz, S. Qualitative Sociology (2004) 27: 179. doi:10.1023/B:QUAS.0000020692.05355.6e


This article uses autoethnography to make larger conceptual/theoretical points about racial/ethnic identity categories for Puerto Ricans in the United States. I utilize Puerto Rican-ness to illustrate the limitations of U.S. “race” and ethnic constructs by furthering racialization analyses with seemingly contradictory categories such as “white” and “people of color.” I contrast personal experiences to those of racial/ethnic classificatory systems, the American imagery of Puerto Ricans, and simplistic, political identifications. Travel, colonial relations, intra-ethnic coalitional possibilities, and second-class citizenship are all aspects that expand on the notion of racialization as classically utilized in sociology and the social sciences. Although this is not a comparative study, I present differences between racial formation systems in Puerto Rico and the U.S. in order to make these points.

autoethnography racialization race/ethnicity Puerto Ricans people of color 

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Salvador Vidal-Ortiz
    • 1
  1. 1.Sociology Department, Graduate School and University CenterCity University of New YorkNew York

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