Impacts of Racial Composition and Space on Racial/Ethnic Identity Development for Mexican Origin College Students
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This dissertation examines the racial/ethnic identity development, and the racialized experiences of Latino college students of Mexican origin. Furthermore, this dissertation advances research on Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) by comparing and contrasting HSIs with various student racial composition trends and a predominantly white institution (PWI). Current research on the marginalized experiences of Latino students at PWIs is clear that they continue to face interpersonal and structural forms of racism on campus. However, previous research on the experiences of Latinos attending HSIs are unclear about the benefits or challenges that Latinos face within those racialized spaces. This dissertation examines specifically how racialized space functions within HSIs of various racial compositions in the Southwest compared to a PWI that is an emerging HSI. This dissertation finds that experiences of racism and/or discrimination vary by an institution’s racial composition that has both negative and positive impacts on racial/ethnic identity development. The HSI in this dissertation with 80 percent Latinos in the student body offers the most institutional support for Latino students of Mexican origin and fosters an environment for racial/ethnic identity exploration, development, and celebration. However, there are several accounts of internalized racism between U.S. born and immigrant Latinos. Furthermore, participants from the HSI with 40 percent Latinos report interpersonal and structural forms of racism on campus similar to the experiences of Latino students at PWI. Students at this HSI also report similar feelings of needing to hide or change their racial/ethnic identity when on campus, and are aware of limited opportunities to explore or celebrate their racial/ethnic identities. Overall, this dissertation finds that we should not homogenize HSIs in analyses. We need to continue investigating differences in experiences within racialized spaces at HSIs with various racial compositions. Furthermore, comparing these institutions by how long there has been a majority of Latinos in the student body is also important. The longer Latinos are the majority over whites in an institution, the more there is institutional support and programs for Latinos of Mexican origin. This support contributes to an overall more inclusionary campus racial climate, and thus more positive opportunities for racial/ethnic identity development.
Hispanic Serving Institutions
Sanchez, Marisa E (2015). Impacts of Racial Composition and Space on Racial/Ethnic Identity Development for Mexican Origin College Students. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from