Preference and prejudice: Does intermarriage erode negative ethno-racial attitudes between groups in Spain?

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Europe, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Science on 2016-03-30 15:24Z by Steven

Preference and prejudice: Does intermarriage erode negative ethno-racial attitudes between groups in Spain?

Published online before print 2016-03-28
DOI: 10.1177/1468796816638404

Dan Rodríguez-García, Associate Professor
Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

Miguel Solana-Solana
Department of Geography
Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

Miranda J. Lubbers, Ramón y Cajal Researcher
Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

This paper challenges the idea – rooted in classic assimilation theory – that intermarriage clearly erodes social and ethno-racial boundaries and negative attitudes between groups. Drawing on narratives from 58 immigrants of seven different origin countries residing in Catalonia, Spain, who are in romantic partnerships with Spanish-born people, we focus on preferences and prejudices related to mixing. We find that the members of exogamous couples both suffer social discrimination regarding the crossing of ethnocultural borders, particularly from their respective family members – a rejection that is based on negative stereotypes and preconceptions linked to the partner’s origin, phenotype or ethnocultural characteristics, such as religion, in intersection with gender. More significantly, we also find that ethno-racial prejudices (particularly when referring to marriage preferences for the respondents and their children) and discriminatory attitudes (towards one’s own and other immigrant minority groups) also exist among intermarried couples themselves. In sum, we question the role of mixed unions as a diluter of differences and an accelerator of integration.

Read or purchase the article here.

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You may not know it — but if you speak Spanish, you speak some Arabic too

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Audio, Europe, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2015-11-25 23:22Z by Steven

You may not know it — but if you speak Spanish, you speak some Arabic too

PRI’s The World
Public Radio International

Joy Diaz, Reporter

Rihab Massif, originally from Lebanon, was my daughter’s preschool teacher in Austin. As a little girl, Camila, my daughter, spoke mostly in Spanish. And Massif remembers a day when Camila was frustrated because she couldn’t remember a word in English.

“She was telling me about her camis,” Massif says.

Camisa is the word in Spanish for “shirt,” and Massif understood it perfectly because camis means the same thing in Arabic.

“And I was like ‘Oh! There are some words related to Arabic,’” she says.

To see just how many, Massif and I did an exercise. I’d say a word in Spanish, and she’d say it back in Arabic.


“We say ceit,” Massif says.


“We say guitar.”

Now that I am aware, it seems like I hear Arabic words everywhere…

…Linguist Victor Solis Parejo from the University of Barcelona in Spain says part of the language Spanish speakers use comes from a legacy of the Moorish influence. “Moors” was the name used to refer to the Arabic-speaking group from North Africa that invaded what would become Spain back in the eighth century. Their influence lasted about 700 years and is still visible today.

“Especially if you travel [in the] south of Spain­. For example in Merida, in the city where I was born, we have the Alcazaba Arabe, an Arabic fortification,” Parejo says. “So, you can see that in the cities nowadays, but you can also see that Islamic presence, that Arabic presence in the language.”…

Read the story here. Listen to the story here. Download the story here.

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I’m white in Barcelona but in Los Angeles I’m Hispanic?

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Audio, Europe, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-11-16 02:42Z by Steven

I’m white in Barcelona but in Los Angeles I’m Hispanic?

Public Radio International

Jaime Gonzalez, BBC World Service Journalist
Los Angeles, California

“You’re not white, where are you from?”

This is how I was greeted a few months ago by a young Black man I interviewed in Los Angeles for a story I was working on.

Having lived in the United States for more than six years, the question did not surprise me, as it was not the first time I had to answer it.

I was born and raised in Barcelona, ​​in northeast Spain, and although I had never given much thought to this matter, I always thought I was white. With dark Mediterranean features, but white.

How else could I define myself if someone asked me about my race?

In 2009, I moved to Miami and soon I became aware of the deep racial divide that still exists in this country.

In America, the definition of what being white means is much more limited than in Spain…

Read the entire article here. Listen to the story here. Download the story here.

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Intermarriage and Integration Revisited: International Experiences and Cross-Disciplinary Approaches

Posted in Articles, Canada, Europe, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States on 2015-11-12 16:40Z by Steven

Intermarriage and Integration Revisited: International Experiences and Cross-Disciplinary Approaches

The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Volume 662, November 2015

Guest Edited by:

Dan Rodríguez-García, Associate Professor
Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

Intermarriage has been a subject of study in the social sciences for more than a century.  Conventional wisdom (and some scattered research) holds that intermarriage is important to the  social integration of immigrants and minority peoples in majority cultures and economies, but we still have a great deal to learn about dynamics of intermarriage and integration. Which groups are  more likely to intermarry? Does crossing racial, ethno-cultural, national, religious or class  boundaries at the intimate level lead to greater integration of individuals and groups that have not  been considered part of the societal mainstream?

This special issue of The ANNALS investigates the intermarriage/integration nexus. The  research within shows the extent to which intermarriage is related to pluralism, cultural diversity,  and social inclusion/exclusion in the twenty-first century; we also evaluate the impact that mixed  marriages, families, and individuals have on shaping and transforming modern societies. We  identify patterns and outcomes of intermarriage in both North America and Europe, detecting  boundaries between native majorities and ethnic minorities.

Obviously, intermarriage and mixedness are often deeply entwined with immigration, so we also  scrutinize the relationship between intermarriage and various aspects of immigrant integration,  whether legal, political, economic, social, or cultural. Does intermarriage, in fact, contribute to  immigrant incorporation? How and to what degree? Findings – whether quantitative, qualitative,  or both – are presented in this volume for a wide variety of national contexts: Canada, the United States, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, and Sweden.

Specific findings include:

  • Race and religion remain significant barriers to societal integration, and deep social cleavages exist even in countries with higher rates of intermarriage. Race is a significant barrier in the United States, and religion – Islam in particular – is a prominent barrier in Western Europe, where even “looking Muslim” is automatically a low-status attribute, making some basic social integration, from housing to employment, automatically more difficult.
  • Diversity has never been greater in the United States, but social integration is context-bound and conditional:
    • White immigrants have an easier time with various forms of integration (e.g. educational attainment, housing, and labor), but the opposite is true for black immigrants, who are less likely to marry black natives or out-marry with other groups.
    • Asian Americans have become the most “marriageable” ethnoracial minority in America. Boundaries to integration in the U.S. for Asians have not disappeared, but the rising multiracial Asian population faces fewer social hurdles. This is particularly true for Asian women, who are seen as more desirable than Asian men, likely because of persistent ethnic stereotypes.
    • The earnings gap between immigrants who marry natives and those who marry other immigrants has increased over time in the U.S.
  • In the U.S. and France, immigrants with high levels of education are more likely to marry natural born citizens.
  • British multiracial people with part white ancestry and their children do not necessarily integrate into the white mainstream.
  • EU citizens generally have a strong identification with Europe – they tend to feel “European” and take pride in being so; this is particularly true of those with a partner from a different EU27 country.
  • The key to integration can lie in children who are products of mixed unions and the role that these families have in shaping societies where plural identities are normalized. In Quebec, for example, parents in mixed unions tend to make decisions that transmit identity, values, and culture to their children in ways that contribute to the “unique social pluralism” of the Quebecois.
  • Immigrants in Canada with Canadian-born partners have similar levels of political engagement as the third-plus generation with Canadian-born partners; however, immigrants with foreign-born partners have lower political participation.
  • The regulation of mixed marriages in the Netherlands has historically been gendered, to the detriment of Dutch women.
  • The link between intermarriage and immigrant integration in Spain is complex and varied: outcomes for some aspects of integration may show a direct connection, while other results indicate either no relationship or a bidirectional association; further, the outcomes may be moderated by factors such as country of origin, gender, or length of residence.
  • The social, cultural, and achievement outcomes for children of mixed marriages in England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden are always in between the outcomes for immigrant children and native children, suggesting that mechanisms of both integration and  stigmatization, among other possibilities, play a role.

Together, these studies suggest a more complex picture of the nexus between intermarriage and integration than has traditionally been theorized, composing a portrait of what some scholars are calling “mixedness” – an encompassing concept that refers to intermarriage and mixed families, and the sociocultural processes attendant to them, in the modern world. We find that mixedness can be socially transformative, but also that it illuminates the disheartening persistence of ethnic and cultural divides that hinder inclusion and social cohesion.

Read or purchase this special issue here.

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Dark skin, blue eyes: Genes paint a picture of 7,000-year-old European

Posted in Articles, Europe, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2014-01-27 03:10Z by Steven

Dark skin, blue eyes: Genes paint a picture of 7,000-year-old European

NBC News

Alan Boyle, Science Editor

A 7,000-year-old man whose bones were left behind in a Spanish cave had the dark skin of an African, but the blue eyes of a Scandinavian. He was a hunter-gatherer who ate a low-starch diet and couldn’t digest milk well — which meshes with the lifestyle that predated the rise of agriculture. But his immune system was already starting to adapt to a new lifestyle.

Researchers found all this out not from medical records, or from a study of the man’s actual skin or eyes, but from an analysis of the DNA extracted from his tooth.

The study, published online Sunday by the journal Nature, lays out what’s said to be the first recovered genome of a European hunter-gatherer from a transitional time known as the Mesolithic Period, which lasted from 10,000 to 5,000 years ago. It’s a time when the hunter-gatherer lifestyle was starting to give way to a more settled existence, with farms, livestock and urban settlements.

The remains of the Mesolithic male, dubbed La Braña 1, were found in 2006 in the La Braña-Arintero cave complex in northwest Spain. In the Nature paper, the researchers describe how they isolated the ancient DNA, sequenced the genome and looked at key regions linked to physical traits — including lactose intolerance, starch digestion and immune response.

The biggest surprise was that the genes linked to skin pigmentation reflected African rather than modern European variations. That indicates that the man had dark skin, “although we cannot know the exact shade,” Carles Lalueza-Fox, a member of the research team from the Spanish National Research Council, said in a news release. At the same time, the man possessed the genetic variations that produce blue eyes in current Europeans…

Read the entire article here.

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Viva Obama! – How Spain Views The US Elections

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Europe, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2012-11-07 22:15Z by Steven

Viva Obama! – How Spain Views The US Elections

International Business Times

Palash R. Ghosh

Spain, reeling from a paralyzing economic crisis that has thrown one-quarter of the workforce onto the streets and crippling budget cuts, may not have its full attention upon Tuesday’s presidential elections.

However, given the widespread approval of Barack Obama across much of western Europe, some Spaniards may indeed be cast a glance across the Atlantic.
The financial collapse in Spain ended the tenure of the Socialist government of former Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, supplanted by the conservative administration of Mariano Rajoy of the People’s Party.

International Business Times spoke to an expert on Spain to discuss how the beleaguered Spaniards view the U.S. Presidential election,
Laura Gonzalez-Alana is Assistant Professor of Finance and Business Economics at Fordham University in New York City.

IB TIMES: Do you sense a great deal of interest in the 2012 U.S. presidential election among the Spanish public? Or has it waned since 2008?

GONZALEZ-ALANA: The Spanish press has been widely covering the campaign. I could actually read summaries and opinions about the outcomes of the debates earlier in Spain than on CNN. Clearly the European press prefers Barack Obama, despite the disappointment regarding the expectations raised by his 2008 victory..
Spaniards, like other Europeans, are worried about how foreign policy and diplomatic relations with the United States could change if Mitt Romney becomes president. They do not trust the current moderate tones in Romney’s speeches after the very conservative stances he took during the primaries to appeal to the far-right Tea Party.

In general, the majority of Europeans believe Obama could be a more efficient negotiator with them and with the Middle East nations.

Another armed conflict [in the Mideast] would be particularly difficult to support given the economic crisis in Europe.

Also, Europeans, and Spaniards in general do not believe that open confrontation with China over trade issues would be the most effective manner to handle such abuses. And Europeans still resent having been dragged into the armed conflicts waged by George W. Bush…

…IB TIMES: Does Spanish media describe Obama as “black” or “mixed race” (given that his mother was white). Is this distinction important to Spaniards?
GONZALEZ-ALANA: People in Spain are aware of his being half-white and half-black, but not much is said about his racial profile, other than it makes extremist groups more nervous about him, given that in the European mind, the U.S. is still quite uncomfortable with racial diversity.
Europeans have some racial issues, too, but they see Obama as an “American” leader, and as a person to admire, like other famous black or half-black famous US people, like singers, actors, sports figures and so on.

If you asked Spaniards to pick a word to describe Obama, they would say “black”—in a sense, not being ‘fully white’ means ‘black.’

Now, the word ‘negro’ in Spain is not politically incorrect, but it all depends on the context and intonation…

Read the entire interview here.

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Nharas and Morenas Horras: A Luso-African Model for the Social History of the Spanish Caribbean, c. 1570-1640

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2012-04-14 03:43Z by Steven

Nharas and Morenas Horras: A Luso-African Model for the Social History of the Spanish Caribbean, c. 1570-1640

Journal of Early Modern History
Volume 14, Issue 1 (2010)
pages 119-150
DOI: 10.1163/138537810X12632734397061

David Wheat, Assistant Professor of History
Michigan State University

Drawing on little-used archival materials held in Seville’s Archive of the Indies and ecclesiastical records from the Cathedral of Havana, this article argues that free African and African-descended women participated in Spain’s colonization of the Caribbean to a degree that has not been fully recognized. Regularly described as vecinas (heads of household) and as spouses to Iberian men in key port cities, free women of color played active roles in the formation and maintenance of Spanish Caribbean society during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, not as peripheral or marginalized figures, but as non-elite insiders who pursued their own best interests and those of their families and associates.

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Colonial Peru, the Caste System, and the “Purity” of Blood

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive on 2012-03-27 19:34Z by Steven

Colonial Peru, the Caste System, and the “Purity” of Blood

South Americana: The History and Culture of the World’s Most Exotic Continent

David Gaughran

It was the Spaniards who gave the world the notion that an aristocrat’s blood is not red but blue. The Spanish nobility started taking shape around the ninth century in classic military fashion, occupying land as warriors on horseback. They were to continue the process for more than five hundred years, clawing back sections of the peninsula from its Moorish occupiers, and a nobleman demonstrated his pedigree by holding up his sword arm to display the filigree of blue-blooded veins beneath his pale skin—proof that his birth had not been contaminated by the dark-skinned enemy—Robert Lacey, Aristocrats
The historical Spanish obsession with the purity of blood evolved into an elaborate caste system which reached its apogee with the colonization of South America and the subsequent intermingling of settlers with both South American Indians and imported African slaves, all of whose mixed offspring needed a separate classification, of course.
It was an intricate system—designed to pit sections of society against each other and play on the subsequent fear of overthrow by the lower classes, so that Spain could continue to exert its top-down control. But it also signified the relative social importance of the caste members, usually in a pejorative sense, meaning that only certain rights, occupations, and institutions were open to them.
If you had been born in Spain, then you automatically qualified as a member of the elite. If you had been born in South America, but your bloodline was “pure” then you were accorded privileged status, but of the second order, and the most influential posts were out of reach. However, if your ancestors had the temerity to dally with the Indians or blacks, then a complicated algorithm was brought to bear….

…Caste membership didn’t simply determine what occupation you could hold, but also whether you could bear arms, attend university, or even the clothes you were allowed wear…

Read the entire article here.

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Indians and Mestizos in the “Lettered City”: Reshaping Justice, Social Hierarchy, and Political Culture in Colonial Peru

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2011-12-03 23:41Z by Steven

Indians and Mestizos in the “Lettered City”: Reshaping Justice, Social Hierarchy, and Political Culture in Colonial Peru

University Press of Colorado
320 pages
5 line drawings, 1 map
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-60732-018-0
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-60732-019-7

Alcira Dueñas, Assistant Professor of Latin American History and World History
Ohio State University, Newark

Through newly unearthed texts virtually unknown in Andean studies, Indians and Mestizos in the “Lettered City” highlights the Andean intellectual tradition of writing in their long-term struggle for social empowerment and questions the previous understanding of the “lettered city” as a privileged space populated solely by colonial elites. Rarely acknowledged in studies of resistance to colonial rule, these writings challenged colonial hierarchies and ethnic discrimination in attempts to redefine the Andean role in colonial society.

Scholars have long assumed that Spanish rule remained largely undisputed in Peru between the 1570s and 1780s, but educated elite Indians and mestizos challenged the legitimacy of Spanish rule, criticized colonial injustice and exclusion, and articulated the ideas that would later be embraced in the Great Rebellion in 1781. Their movement extended across the Atlantic as the scholars visited the seat of the Spanish empire to negotiate with the king and his advisors for social reform, lobbied diverse networks of supporters in Madrid and Peru, and struggled for admission to religious orders, schools and universities, and positions in ecclesiastic and civil administration.

Indians and Mestizos in the “Lettered City” explores how scholars contributed to social change and transformation of colonial culture through legal, cultural, and political activism, and how, ultimately, their significant colonial critiques and campaigns redefined colonial public life and discourse. It will be of interest to scholars and students of colonial history, colonial literature, Hispanic studies, and Latin American studies.


  • List of Illustrations
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1. Introduction
  • Chapter 2. Foundations of Seventeenth-Century Andean Scholarship
  • Chapter 3. Andean Scholarship in the Eighteenth Century: Writers, Networks,and Texts
  • Chapter 4. The European Background of Andean Scholarship
  • Chapter 5. Andean Discourses of Justice: The Colonial Judicial System under Scrutiny
  • Chapter 6. The Political Culture of Andean Elites: Social Inclusion and Ethnic Autonomy
  • Chapter 7. The Politics of Identity Formation in Colonial Andean Scholarship
  • Chapter 8. Conclusion
  • Epilogue
  • Selected Bibliography
  • Index
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“Asi lo paresçe por su aspeto”: Physiognomy and the Construction of Difference in Colonial Bogotá

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive on 2011-10-21 21:25Z by Steven

“Asi lo paresçe por su aspeto”: Physiognomy and the Construction of Difference in Colonial Bogotá

Hispanic American Historical Review
Volume 91, Number 4 (2011)
pages 601-631
DOI: 10.1215/00182168-1416648

Joanne Rappaport, Professor of Anthropology
Georgetown University

My objective in this article is to examine the relationship between perception and classification in the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Andes, focusing in particular on the Nuevo Reino de Granada (today, Colombia). During the first century of colonization, the visual identification of members of ethnoracial categories—indios, mestizos, mulattos, negros, and Spaniards— transformed over time and space in the Atlantic context. I argue in this article that we may be confining ourselves to a conceptual straitjacket if we limit our interpretation of terms like “indio” or “mulato” to their ethnic or racial dimensions as part of a self-enclosed system of classification, because such usages were embedded in broader schemes of perception and categorization that both antedated the Spanish invasion of the Americas and continued to be employed on the Iberian Peninsula. In particular, ethnoracial categories interacted in a complex relationship with the ways that observers reacted to the physiognomy of the individuals who bore these labels, so that the fluidity of classification can be seen as deriving in part from the interpretation of visual cues.

Read or purchase the article here.

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