Skip to main content

Investigating intra-ethnic divisions among Latino immigrants in Miami, Florida

Abstract

The demographic diversification of the Latino population, in terms of both generational change and national origin, calls for the exploration of intra-group dynamics within the often-asserted but rarely investigated Latino communities. These demographic shifts are particularly salient in the Miami-Dade County, Florida, metropolitan area, making it an ideal case study for investigating pan-ethnic social cohesion and divisions. This article analyzes forty-five semi-structured qualitative interviews with Latino immigrants in Miami from ten nationalities to understand how immigrants from various countries perceive divisions among each other and how these perceptions affect their interactions. We find the most significant divisions to exist between Caribbean Latinos and Continental Latin American Latinos.

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

Notes

  1. 1.

    All the Spanish-speaking countries of North, Central, and South America, as well as the Caribbean, are represented in the original dataset of over 200 interviews conducted in Boston, Los Angeles, and Miami.

  2. 2.

    Although Puerto Ricans are considered US citizens, they were included in this analysis because of their sizeable numbers in Miami, in order to better represent the interactions between the various Latino communities in Miami.

  3. 3.

    The Obama administration began to thaw American relations with Cuba in 2014 by rolling back economic sanctions against the island nation, reestablishing diplomatic relations between the two countries, engaging in cooperative efforts to curtail drug trafficking, permitting tourist travel, and allowing the use of American credit cards in Cuba, among other initiatives. Since taking office in January 2017, the Trump administration has drastically reduced the size of the American embassy in Cuba and has expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from their embassy in Washington. On 9 November 2017, the Trump administration implemented plans to return to more Cold War–like relations with Cuba, prohibiting travel except with Treasury Department—approved and guided tour groups, prohibiting any commercial transactions with ties to the Cuban government and military, and restricting trade with 180 State Department identified agencies (DeYoung 2017).

  4. 4.

    Interview no. 11.

  5. 5.

    Interview no. 15.

  6. 6.

    Interview no. 24.

  7. 7.

    Interview no. 33.

  8. 8.

    Interview no. 27.

  9. 9.

    All the names of the respondents were changed.

  10. 10.

    Interview no. 31.

  11. 11.

    Interview no. 7.

  12. 12.

    Interview no. 33.

  13. 13.

    Interview no. 21.

  14. 14.

    Interview no. 22.

  15. 15.

    This was the case for 75% of our Dominican respondents and 65% of our Cuban respondents.

  16. 16.

    Interview no. 45.

References

  1. Aguilar, E. 2009. Asimilación laboral de los inmigrantes Colombianos en Estados Unidos (Spanish). Revista de Economía Del Rosario 12 (1): 67–93.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Alba, R., T. Jiménez, and H. Marrow. 2014. Mexican Americans as a Paradigm for Contemporary Intra-Group Heterogeneity. Ethnic and Racial Studies 37 (3): 446–466.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Anthias, F. 2001. The Concept of “Social Division” and Theorising Social Stratification: Looking at Ethnicity and Class. Sociology 35 (4): 835–854.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Aranda, E. 2007. Struggles of Incorporation Among the Puerto Rican Middle Class. Sociological Quarterly 48 (2): 199–228.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Aranda, E., S. Hughes, and E. Sabogal. 2014. Making a Life in Multiethnic Miami: Immigration and the Rise of a Global City. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Beltrán, C. 2010. The Trouble with Unity: Latino Politics and the Creation of Identity. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Barth, F. 1969. Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Social Organization of Culture Difference. Boston: Little, Brown.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Bohon, S. 2013. Latinos in Ethnic Enclaves: Immigrant Workers and the Competition for Jobs. Hoboken, NJ: Taylor and Francis.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Bonilla-Silva, E. 2002. “We are all Americans!”: The Latin Americanization of Racial Stratification in the USA. Race and Society 5 (1): 3–16.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Brown, E., and F. Brooks. 2006. African American and Latino Perceptions of Cohesion in a Multiethnic Neighborhood. American Behavioral Scientist 50 (2): 258–275.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Calderón, J. 1992. “Hispanic” and “Latino”: The Viability of Categories for Panethnic Unity. Latin American Perspectives 19 (4): 37–44.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Carey, T., T. Matsubayashi, R. Branton, and V. Martinez-Ebers. 2013. The Determinants and Political Consequences of Latinos’ Perceived Intra-Group Competition. Politics, Groups, and Identities 1 (3): 311–328.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Catanzarite, L., and M.B. Aguilera. 2002. Working with Co-Ethnics: Earnings Penalties for Latino Immigrants at Latino Jobsites. Social Problems 49 (1): 101–127.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Chavez, L. 2008. The Latino Threat: Constructing Immigrants, Citizens and the Nation. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Cobas, J., J. Duany, and J. Feagin. 2009. Racializing Latinos: Historical Background and Current Forms. In How the United States Racializes Latinos: White Hegemony and Its Consequences, ed. J. Cobas, J. Duany, and J. Feagin, 1–14. Boulder, CO: Paradigm.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Cohen, C. 1999. The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics, 1st ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Corlett, A. 2003. Race, Racism, and Reparations. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  18. De Genova, N., and A. Ramos-Zayas. 2003. Latino Crossings: Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and the Politics of Race and Citizenship. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  19. DeYoung, K. 2017. “White House Implements New Cuba Policy Restricting Travel and Trade,” The Washington Post, 8 November. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/white-house-implements-new-cuba-policy-restricting-travel-and-trade/2017/11/08/a5597dee-c49b-11e7-aae0-cb18a8c29c65_story.html?utm_term=.273ce3fe0bf8.

  20. Dzidzienyo, A., and S. Oboler (eds.). 2005. Neither Enemies Nor Friends: Latinos, Blacks, Afro-Latinos. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Fernández, L. 2012. Brown in the Windy City. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  22. Frey, W., and R. Farley. 1996. Latino, Asian, and Black Segregation in U.S. Metropolitan Areas: Are Multi-Ethnic Metros Different? Demography 33 (1): 35–50.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Garcia Bedolla, L. 2005. Fluid Borders: Latino Power, Identity, and Politics in Los Angeles. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Garcia Bedolla, L. 2014. Latino Politics. Cambridge, MA: Polity Press.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Golash-Boza, T., and E. Bonilla-Silva. 2013. Rethinking Race, Racism, Identity and Ideology in Latin America. Ethnic and Racial Studies 36 (10): 1485–1489.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Grenier, G., L. Pérez, and N. Foner. 2002. The Legacy of Exile: Cubans in the United States, 1st ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Grosfoguel, R. 1999. Puerto Ricans in the USA: A Comparative Approach. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 25 (2): 233–249.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Guarnaccia, P., I. Martinez Pincay, M. Alegria, P. Shrout, R. Lewis-Fernandez, and G. Canino. 2007. Assessing Diversity among Latinos: Results from the NLAAS. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 29 (4): 510–534.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Guarnizo, L., A. Sanchez, and E. Roach. 1999. Mistrust, Fragmented Solidarity, and Transnational Migration: Colombians in New York City and Los Angeles. Ethnic and Racial Studies 22 (2): 367–396.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Hochschild, J., and V. Weaver. 2007. The Skin Color Paradox and the American Racial Order. Social Forces 86 (2): 643–670.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Horton, S. 2004. Different Subjects: The Health Care System’s Participation in the Differential Construction of the Cultural Citizenship of Cuban Refugees and Mexican Immigrants. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 18 (4): 472–489.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Jiménez, Tomás R. 2010. Affiliative Ethnic Identity: A More Elastic Link between Ethnic Ancestry and Culture. Ethnic and Racial Studies 33 (10): 1756–1775.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Johnson, K. 2004. Law and Politics in Post-Modern California: Coalition or Conflict between African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latina/os? Ethnicities 4 (3): 381–401.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Lavariega Monforti, J., and G. Sanchez. 2010. The Politics of Perception: An Investigation of the Presence and Sources of Perceptions of Internal Discrimination among Latinos. Social Science Quarterly 91 (1): 245–265.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Maldonado, M. 2009. “It Is Their Nature to Do Menial Labour”: The Racialization of “Latino/a Workers” by Agricultural Employers. Ethnic and Racial Studies 32 (6): 1017–1036.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Marrow, H. 2011. New Destination Dreaming: Immigration, Race, and Legal Status in the Rural American South. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Massey, D. 2007. Categorically Unequal: The American Stratification System. New York: Russell Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  38. McClain, P., N. Carter, V. DeFrancesco Soto, M. Lyle, J. Grynaviski, S. Nunnally, T. Scotto, J. Kendrick, G. Lackey, and K. Davenport Cotton. 2006. Racial Distancing in a Southern City: Latino Immigrants’ Views of Black Americans. Journal of Politics 68 (3): 571–584.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Meier, K., and E. Melton. 2012. Latino Heterogeneity and the Politics of Education: The Role of Context. SSQU Social Science Quarterly 93 (3): 732–749.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Miami-Dade County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau. 2015. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/12/12086.html.

  41. Miami-Dade County, Department of Planning and Zoning. 2011. https://www.miamidade.gov/planning/library/reports/data-flash/2011-hispanics-by-origin.pdf.

  42. Milkman, R. 2007. Labor Organizing among Mexican-Born Workers in the United States Recent Trends and Future Prospects. Labor Studies Journal 32 (1): 96–112.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Mora, G.C. 2014. Making Hispanics: How Activists, Bureaucrats, and Media Constructed a New American. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  44. Ochoa, G.L. 2000. Mexican Americans’ Attitudes toward and Interactions with Mexican Immigrants: A Qualitative Analysis of Conflict and Cooperation. Social Science Quarterly 81 (1): 84–105.

    Google Scholar 

  45. Padilla, F. 1985. Latino Ethnic Consciousness: The Case of Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans in Chicago. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Perez, L. 1986. Immigrant Economic Adjustment and Family Organization: The Cuban Success Story Reexamined. International Migration Review 20 (1): 4–20.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Pew Hispanic Center. 2015. Facts on U.S. Immigrants, 2015: Statistical Portrait of the Foreign-Born Population in the United States. http://www.pewhispanic.org/2017/05/03/facts-on-u-s-immigrants-current-data/.

  48. Phinney, J., G. Horenczyk, K. Liebkind, and P. Vedder. 2001. Ethnic Identity, Immigration, and Well-Being: An Interactional Perspective. Journal of Social Issues 57 (3): 493–510.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Phinney, J., and A. Ong. 2007. Conceptualization and Measurement of Ethnic Identity: Current Status and Future Directions. Journal of Counseling Psychology 54 (3): 271–281.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Portes, A., and R. Rumbaut. 2001. Legacies: The Story of the Immigrant Second Generation. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  51. Portes, A., and A. Stepick. 1993. City on the Edge: The Social Transformation of Miami. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  52. Sabatier, C. 2008. Ethnic and National Identity among Second-Generation Immigrant Adolescents in France: The Role of Social Context and Family. Journal of Adolescence 31 (2): 185–205.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Sanchez, G. 2006. The Role of Group Consciousness in Latino Public Opinion. Political Research Quarterly 59 (3): 435–446.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Stepick, A., and C. Dutton Stepick. 2002. Becoming American, Constructing Ethnicity: Immigrant Youth and Civic Engagement. Applied Developmental Science 6 (4): 246–257.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Telles, E. 2014. Pigmentocracies: Ethnicity, Race, and Color in Latin America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

    Google Scholar 

  56. Telles, E., and V. Ortiz. 2009. Generations of Exclusion: Mexican Americans, Assimilation, and Race. New York: Russell Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  57. Tovar, J., and C. Feliciano. 2009. “Not Mexican-American, but Mexican”: Shifting Ethnic Self-Identifications among Children of Mexican Immigrants. Latino Studies 7 (2): 197–221.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Weaver, C. 2007. The Effects of Contact on the Prejudice between Hispanics and Non-Hispanic Whites in the United States. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 29 (2): 254–274.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Woltman, K., and K. Newbold. 2009. Of Flights and Flotillas: Assimilation and Race in the Cuban Diaspora. Professional Geographer 61 (1): 70–86.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Marie L. Mallet.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Mallet, M.L., Pinto-Coelho, J.M. Investigating intra-ethnic divisions among Latino immigrants in Miami, Florida. Lat Stud 16, 91–112 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41276-017-0108-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • Latino
  • Immigrants
  • Pan-ethnicity
  • Miami
  • Intra-ethnic division
  • Secondary marginalization