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A Summary: Exploring Interracial Relationships in the United States

The United States is one of the most ethnically and racially diverse nations in the world. Hence, understanding the politics, culture and other facets of American society requires an understanding of the different races and ethnicities that call the United States home. Among the dominant races in the United States, are Latinos and African Americans and as racial minorities who occupy similar social and political positions, understanding how these two groups are essential to understanding the United States. In this paper, a summary of different research articles focusing on the relationships between African Americans and Latinos is outlined. A summary of these articles reveals the complex dynamics of Latino-African American relationships but all underpin the potential of a progressive and enriching relationship between the two races.

Paula D McClain in her article discusses the research and results of an experiment about interracial relations particularly on issues such as interracial relationships and their voting patterns. In this article, McClain hypothesizes that with the exit of white populations from certain neighborhoods, the political landscape would change in favor of minority groups. McClain uses data from the 1980 census as the basis for this research on how racial politics evolved between 1990 and 2006. The article aimed to understand the nature of the relationships between minority groups in the United States, particularly Latinx, Asian Americans, and African Americans. Crucial to this research was the trend in the political representation and influence of minority groups in the country. The researchers hypothesized that the decrease in white political influence would occur simultaneously with an increase in minority political influence. The article argued that white populations had a negative correlation with minority representation, particularly that of African Americans. Similarly, the growth of the Latino population across the various cities where the research was based also had a negative influence on African American representation. The same effect was reported with the increase of Asian American populations.

However, even with diminishing white populations in various areas, their political influence was sustained while that of other increasing groups such as Latinos diminished. This suggested the possibility that while Latino populations grew, a significant number were immigrants who were ineligible to vote, which led to the continued domination of whites and blacks in the political space. Asian influence on the political space continued to grow between 1990 and 2000 in the cities where the research is set. Hence, the increase in Asian populations had a negative correlation with the election of African American mayors. However, the most telling and instructive finding of the research was the fact that while white populations diminished in the cities where the research was conducted, their political influence was largely unaffected, which suggests that other powers and forces other than population numbers have a significant influence on the political landscape in the United States (McClain). Another reason for the continued dominant influence of whites in politics is gentrification. As neighborhoods become more gentrified, whites who had moved out of the center of the cities and headed for the suburbs are gradually reclaiming city centers.

McClain further argues that if this trend continues, the white political domination will increase and reach the levels that it was at in the 1960s when whites dominated the majority of city politics. The findings of the research suggest that whites’ and Asians’ influence on American politics exists hence the importance of factoring in these groups in city political discussions. Political competition between the various racial groups is largely mild and not at the levels that were predicted in 1990. Despite the mild political competition, the competition for resources between blacks and Latinos continues to exacerbate, and whether this influences political competition remains to be seen. The 1980 census revealed the growing numbers of Latino and African American populations in various cities, and this led to discussions about how these populations would influence racial relations, specifically, political racial relations. The research shows that an increase in minorities does not necessarily translate to political influence. Whites, whose political domination was expected to wane, continue to significantly influence politics in various cities.

Alvaro D Corral also discusses racial relations between Latinos and blacks. Corral discusses the fact that Latinos suffer in the United States. From law enforcement agencies and immigration officials, Corral writes that Latinos suffer the brunt of racial profiling in the United States. Corral explores the difference between Latino-black and Latino-white relationships. Corral in his research uncovers unlike common misperceptions Latinos support efforts for racial justice. The common misperception is that Latinos have anti-black sentiment, but Corral reveals that Latinos are fervent about racial justice in America and support movements such as Black Lives Matter. However, there is a significant influence of Latino racial identity in the relationship between Latinos and blacks. This influence, however, is large during the precursory stages in Latino-black relationships. While some Latinos may initially exhibit anti-black sentiment, once they are aware of movements such as BLM (Black Lives Matter) they are generally supportive (Corral). Corral in the article argues that while Latino-Black relationships may be apparently non-existent, the common history of facing racism in the United States attracts the two groups to similar social and political movements. The article is a calling clarion for hope in Latino-Black relationships and is a sign that Latinos and Blacks in the United States will increasingly grow closer and perhaps advance their influence in the politics and social dynamics of the United States

Robert D Putnam in his article “E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-first Century The 2006 Johan Skytte Prize Lecture” also discusses interracial relationships across the world. With the increase in ethnic diversity, society has had to deal with different issues as different people from different cultures mingle and interact. Putnam argues that immigration and ethnic diversity have tended to reduce social solidarity and social capital. Putnam writes that research-based evidence suggests that increased ethnic and racial diversity leads to prolonged stays in particular places hence confounding the notion racial diversity leads to increased racial tensions (Putnam). However, while people in ethnically and racially diverse cities tend to hunker down, there is the fact that in ethnically diverse places, trust between the residents significantly reduces, even among people of a similar race. Furthermore, Putnam writes that altruism and inter-communal cooperation tends to be lower, with the inhabitants tending to have fewer acquaintances and friends. Despite this fragmentation, evidence derived from studies of the US military and various religious institutions indicates that while ethnic and racial relations may initially be tense, people of different ethnicities and races develop novel forms of social solidarity. Interracial and inter-ethnic relations lead to the creation of comprehensive identities which leads to a better-developed society. Despite racial differences and tensions, there is evidence that people of various ethnic diversities can become comfortable with this diversity.

Linda X Zhou and Sapna Cheryan in their article “Two Axes of Subordination: A New Model of Racial Position” explore the various facets that underpin racial relations in the United States. Zhou and Cheryan argue that different races are perceived differently. In view are White Americans, African Americans, Latin Americans, and Asian Americans. Whites are typically perceived as superior and the embodiment of what defines an American. African Americans on their part are also perceived as American but inferior to white, Latinos, and Asian Americans. Latinos on their part are deemed too inferior to whites and Asians and also foreign (Zhou and Cheryan). Asian Americans are considered as foreign but superior to African Americans and Latinos. Because of these perceptions, people of different races have varying views of people of other races and of themselves. Zou and Cheryan argue that these racial position perceptions significantly affect the interaction between people of different races. Despite the dynamics of racial positioning, minority groups have found sources of solidarity in their calls for racial and social justice.

Racial relations in a racially diverse nation such as the United States are critically important. Racial relations are crucial to the politics and social dynamics of the United States. Of significance, are the racial relations between minority groups, African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans. This summary explores the dynamics between African Americans and Latinos in the United States. Despite the existence of stereotypes, African Americans and Latinos have found common points of understanding and this has led to common support for different political and social justice movements such as Black Lives Matter. Whites and Asian Americans also significantly influence the relationship between Latinos and African Americans as they influence the capacity and nature of political and social collaboration between Latinos and African Americans. A common theme across the articles is the fact that despite racial and ethnic diversity, the future of Latino and African American relationships is bright.

Works Cited

Corral, Álvaro J. “Allies, Antagonists, or Ambivalent? Exploring Latino Attitudes about the Black Lives Matter Movement.” Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, vol. 42, no. 4, 2020, pp. 431-454.

McClain, Paula D. “Presidential Address. “Racial Intergroup Relations in a Set of Cities: A Twenty-Year Perspective”.” The Journal of Politics, vol. 68, no. 4, 2006, pp. 757-770.

Putnam, Robert D. “E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-first Century The 2006 Johan Skytte Prize Lecture.” Scandinavian Political Studies, vol. 30, no. 2, 2007, pp. 137-174.

Zou, Linda X., and Sapna Cheryan. “Two axes of subordination: A new model of racial position.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 112, no. 5, 2017, pp. 696-717.


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