The Fuzziness Of Whiteness: An Exploration Of Latinx Discrimination Through The Use Of Dehumanization

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Amanda Pinto (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Richard Elmore

Abstract: Latinx people have now surpassed African Americans as the largest minority in the United States and immigration from Latin America is a prominent political issue. In this paper, I explore the positionality of Latinx folks within the United States. I start from the philosophical literature, focusing on the position of Latinx individuals and conceptions of race and immigration. I then use this to ground a novel psychological experiment to test how dehumanizing language affects perceptions of Latinx targets. From the philosophical perspective, I begin with Foucault then move through Mills, Yancy, Harris, and Martinez to get at the racial division of a nonwhite subgroup that has placed Latinx Americans on the border of white and American identity. A discussion of language and its uses in regard to Latinx immigrants leads to a psychological experiment that explores the effects of dehumanizing metaphors. The experiment’s results demonstrate that insect dehumanizing metaphors towards Latinx targets produce colder feelings of Latinx people. My conclusion raises questions about how this dehumanization may affect tolerances of violence that has been seen in other studies and previous historical moments.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Pinto, A. (2019). The Fuzziness Of Whiteness: An Exploration Of Latinx Discrimination Through The Use Of Dehumanization. Unpublished Honors Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2019
Racism, Whiteness, Latinx, Dehumanization, Immigration

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