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Darity, William A., Jr.; Dietrich, Jason; & Hamilton, Darrick (2005). Bleach in the Rainbow: Latin Ethnicity and Preference for Whiteness. Transforming Anthropology, 13(2), 103-109.


The conventional wisdom has it that race is constructed in vastly different ways in the United States and throughout Latin America. Race ostensibly is understood as genotypical in the United States, while race ostensibly is understood as phenotypical in Latin America. Furthermore, the conventional wisdom, represented by the “rainbow people” metaphor, characterizes racial identity as far less a source of stigma in Latin
America than in the United States. In contrast, research reported in this article indicates strong similarities in the construction and the operation of race across the entire Americas. Genotype, or African ancestry, is shown to matter in Latin America; phenotype, or appearance, is shown to matter in the United States. Race is strongly associated with social exclusion and inequality throughout all of the Americas, with Latinos demonstrating a strong preference for Whiteness and an aversion toward a Black identity. African Americans’ tendency to be Black identified may be the result of
the social selection effects of the phenomenon of “passing.”


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Transforming Anthropology


Darity, William A., Jr.
Dietrich, Jason
Hamilton, Darrick