The Browning of the New South: Race, Immigration, and Minority Linked Fate
Abstract: The U.S. Southeast has become a harbinger of twenty-first-century immigrant integration and race relations. Its unique characteristics of rapid demographic change, an explosion of anti-immigrant policies, cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and large African American population, have made the region a dynamic indicator of how race and race relations are changing throughout the country. Drawing from 12 months of ethnographic research, 86 interviews, and inductive analysis of three local newspapers, I examine how the marginalization and racialization of Latinos compels them to self-identify as racial minorities and to develop positive social and political ties with blacks. Specifically, I show that within a context of minimal economic competition, Latinos’ new racial identity arises from two related processes: a political backlash against Latino immigration that results in downward mobility and what I call ‘reverse incorporation’, and through on-the-ground relations with native-born community members, whose attitudes and practices shape newcomers’ ideas about race. By highlighting the role of context in shaping intergroup relationships, these findings undermine pervasive assumptions of black-brown conflict and indicate the social processes that produce intergroup solidarity and political action.
Bio: Dr. Jennifer Jones is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Latin American and Latino Studies (by courtesy) at the University of Illinois at Chicago. As a scholar, Dr. Jones seeks to examine the social construction of race by exploring three distinct sources of change in the contemporary racial landscape — immigration, the growing multiracial population, and shifting social relations between and within racial groups. By focusing on these three themes, she works to expand our understanding of how people become racialized and make sense of that racial identity, as well as how those identities impact social relations and politics. Dr. Jones’ recent work can be found in such journals as Contexts, International Migration Review, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Ethnic and Racial Studies, and Latino Studies. Her book, The Browning of the New South, was released with the University of Chicago Press in 2019.