October 14, 2004

Racial prejudice higher in Latin America than in the US

A new study investigates the idea of "Iberian exceptionalism", namely that countries founded by Iberians in the Americans have a lower or no racial prejudice. The authors discover that the opposite is true: Latin American countries show a higher degree of racial prejudice than the United States.

Racial Democracy in the Americas: A Latin and U.S. Comparison

Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology November 2004, vol. 35, no. 6, pp. 749-762(14)

Yesilernis Peña et al.


The “racial democracy” (Iberian exceptionalism) thesis claims that racial prejudice in Latin America is not only lower than that found in the United States but is essentially absent altogether. We explored the plausibility of this thesis by the use of both explicit and implicit prejudice measures among Blacks and Whites from the United States and three Caribbean nations. In general, the results showed significant racial prejudice against Blacks and in favor of Whites in all four nations. African Americans were the only participants not to show significant implicit prejudice either in favor of or against Blacks. In addition, North Americans (i.e., participants from the United States) displayed lower implicit and explicit racial prejudice than participants in each of the three Latino nations. Overall, the results clearly contradicted the thesis of racial democracy and suggest that Latin America may not be nearly as egalitarian as some have argued.


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