Black-Latino relations in the South may face difficult days ahead, predicts a recent study in Durham, NC. It shows that a majority of the city’s recently burgeoning Latino immigrants have negative stereotypes of African Americans and identify more with Whites. The study led by Duke University political science professor Paula McClain, questioned racial attitudes of 500 Durham residents, about equally divided among Black, White and Latino.

More than half the Latinos said they felt African Americans were untrustworthy and not hard-working, views held by only 10 percent of the Whites who were questioned. About a third of the Black respondents felt that Latinos were untrustworthy and about two-fifths that they were not hard-working.

Asked which other group they had most in common with, most Whites chose Blacks or Asians; a slight majority of Blacks (50 percent) chose Latinos, and most Latinos (78 percent) chose Whites.

The study team found that better educated Blacks and Latinos held fewer stereotypes, as did those who had more social contact with one another. Further, Latinos who felt the most solidarity or “linked fate” with other Latinos tended to feel closer to Blacks and more distant to Whites.

Durham’s Latino population has increased six times over the past 15 years, primarily immigrants from Mexico and Central American. With a decline in local industry, they and African Americans often compete for low-wage service, cleaning, construction and building maintenance jobs.

July 1, 2006
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