Is the Trayvon Martin Case an Example of Tension Between Black and Latino Communities?

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The commonalities and tensions between the black and Latino communities in the United States — and in particular, in the American south — have been a source of much discussion in the Trayvon Martin case. On yesterday's program, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson mentioned some dramatic statistics on how blacks and Latinos in the American south perceive one another. Duke researchers found that an overwhelming majority of Latinos in Durham, North Carolina, 78 percent, felt they had the most in common with whites. What’s more, nearly 60 percent of Latinos surveyed reported they believed that few or almost no blacks were hard-working or could be trusted.

Pedro Noguera, a sociology professor at NYU, has researched issues that closely affect black and Latino communities in the United States. 


Pedro Noguera

Produced by:

Mythili Rao

Comments [9]

Fred from Nassau, NY

I find the amount of ignorance and sometimes plain vitriol being shared in the comments disturbing. It seems very few of you has a grasp of the basic history of racial tensions in this country, nor do you seem to care.

That Latinos identify more with whites is not surprising. It's not unusual to identify yourself more closely with the "perceived" norm rather than with the "perceived" underclass. This pathology can be replicated when asking people whether they consider themselves "Working-Class" or "Middle-Class." The highest percentage would answer would be "Middle-Class," despite the fact that America's middle-class is the smallest it has been in half a century.

"Whiteness" has been made normal in this country through centuries of racial discrimination against non-WASPs, which has lead to those other groups defining themselves in relation to whites and not each other.

The issues of race in America cannot be boiled down to a few words on a website, and anyone who thinks we live in a "Post-Racial Society" are either ignorant or disingenuous.

Apr. 10 2012 07:09 AM
Bob from Palo Alto, CA

How odd for WNYC not to consider latino attitudes being derived by direct experience. Instead we're asked to believe that they are more heavily influenced by white racism. This seems to be typical of the screwed up thinking championed in the world of the left.

Apr. 05 2012 01:46 PM
Dot Cloud from Boston

Sadly, I think there is a lot of truth regarding racism being prevalent among the latino community. Some of the most european descent latinos have a tendency to discriminate the ones from native american and african roots. This of course is not much different than the issues of race in America (black & white). However, I find that if you are Latino, whether you are white, black or native american, the more easily you assimilate into the prevalent american culture the more likely it is to be embraced by inclusion and all other things about you that are "different" are diminished. As a latina , I have experience this first hand.

Apr. 05 2012 10:06 AM

It's not necessarily "white" Americans solely propagating negative ethnic perceptions in American popular culture. Conservatives say they have no control of the entertainment industry.

Apr. 05 2012 09:51 AM

Aha! Now I think I understand. The Takeaway is asking us to consider the possibility of violent clashes between Latinos and African-Americans... Caused by the negative perceptions that Latinos (and other immigrant groups have of African-Americans) based upon negative stereotyping pop culture information created by... (wait for it) white Americans.

If the "Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me (The NPR news quiz)" ever did any questioning about content on The Takeaway, I would get every answer right, within an instant. The correct answer to any question is, "Because of the wrongdoing and indifference of white America, most particularly Republicans." I'd have Carl Kassel doing the message on my home answering machine for the rest of my life.

Apr. 04 2012 10:11 PM

Jim Crow never met a Hispanic he didn't like. Oh, wait, Jim didn't actually like ANY Hispanic. But if Mr. Crow had to let a colored man manage his factory or ride his bus or drink at his fountain, he sure as heck wasn't gonna let a black man do it. Certainly, Raachestaw wasn't going to be the first town to buck that system.

Apr. 04 2012 10:29 AM
gregory neuhierl from rochest ny

Growing up White in Rochester NY, My observation is the Black US culture has a bad reputation due to their own behavior, and hispanics can more easily start business + find a good life here amoung Whites, yet #1 need English. It's not a White thing - it's about who's honest, non-violent, not loud+ignorant, those who marry, and those who work. It's no secret Black culture is a huge mess so don't blame how about just get in the game?

Apr. 04 2012 09:54 AM

Did a memo go out saying to drop the term "white hispanic" in this case?
The Democratic Party through out its history gave us this disgusting practice of playing races against each other and sowing distrust, jealously and animosity for the ultimate political advantage of the party establishment and the expansion of their power.
The Democratic Party did it one way 100 years ago and they do it another way today.

Apr. 04 2012 09:51 AM

South and Central American immigrants DO look down on African Americans. These countries have few of African descent. Indians are the lower caste south of our borders. Even their telenovelas demonstrate this hierarchy. Of course, exported American TV shows don't help either. For most of its history, television has omitted the actual positive contributions of African Americans to our society.

This is nothing new: recently arriving immigrant groups were looked down on. Most of us just didn't live through the 80-100 years it took for Irish, European Jews, Syrians, Italians, Swedes ...pretty much every non-Briton, to personally feel the growing pains of their assimilation.

Apr. 04 2012 09:49 AM

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