The Browning of the New South

The Browning of the New South

Jennifer A. Jones

Print publication date: 2019

ISBN: 9780226600840

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


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. For immigrant newcomers, like in generations past, how they will come to identify themselves, and are situated in the U.S. racial hierarchy, is an ongoing process of great interest to scholars and policymakers alike. Drawing from 12 months of ethnographic research, 86 interviews, and inductive analysis of three local newspapers, The Browning of the New South demonstrates 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, this book shows 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 unpacks the social processes that produce intergroup solidarity and political action.