Alternative Title

Cross-cultural constructions of race and their impact on Dominican-American racial identity

Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type



School for Social Work


Dominican Americans-Cultural assimilation, Dominican Americans-Race identity, Racism-United States, Latinx, Latino, Hispanic, Spanish, Racial identity, Identity, Racism, Mixed race, Racialization, Dominican Republic, United States, Immigrants, Assimilation


Conversations in the United States around Latinx populations often discuss Latinx racial identity as a singular entity. Though Latinx is a gender-neutral term for Latino and Hispanic populations, the terms “Hispanic” and “Latino” have slowly become umbrella terms for the racial and ethnic identities of people from over 20 different countries and cultural backgrounds. The amalgamation of these varying cultures and communities into a singular racial categorization results in a reductive framework: one that limits individualization within Latinx-American racial identity. These limitations were looked at via qualitative research with specific reference to Dominican populations: a community whose racial categories reference Spanish, African, and Indigenous roots, and are contextualized by a history of anti-blackness and Spanish/white supremacy. Twelve participants took part in semi-structured, guided interviews regarding their experiences living in both the Dominican Republic and the United States, and discussed how racial constructs in both countries impacted their racial self-identification. Findings in this study showed that each participant’s racial self-identification was incongruent with the ways participants were racially identified in the United States. Furthermore, eleven of twelve participants expressed feeling their racial identity shifted upon immigration, and eight participants expressed feeling forced into American constructions of race. Lastly, participants reported feelings of anxiety, fear, isolation, and depression as a result of stereotyping, bullying, harassment, and race-based discrimination as Latinx immigrants to the United States.




iv, 64 pages. M.S.W., Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Ma., 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 57-59)

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