CHICAGO -- According to a recent study by professors from the University of Southern California and American University, discrimination against Hispanics is less about hostility against an ethnic “outgroup” and more about the stereotypes that imply they are a burden on the country.
In a Washington Post Monkey Cage blog post, authors Morris Levy and Matthew Wright note that when white people are missing consistent information about Hispanics, they simply assume they are not legally present in the country. And whites then “rely on ethnic cues to ‘fill in the blanks’—assuming undocumented Latinos are uneducated, unassimilated and potential financial problems for U.S. society.”
However, Levy and Wright found that whites are actually open to policies that address negative group stereotypes about Hispanics, concluding, “If the media were to cover Latinos in other contexts—not just in relation to immigration—the public might think less about immigration in ethnic categories, and therefore [be] less likely to succumb to demagogues’ ethnic scapegoating.”
Hispanics have been saying this for years to no avail, but having two white experts say it reinforces and legitimizes it. Too bad “the media” won’t listen to them any more than they have listened to the many scholars, experts and advocates—both Hispanic and not—who’ve been saying much the same thing for decades.