Direct and Indirect Xenophobic Attacks: Unpacking Portfolios of Identity

Sergio Garcia-Rios, Francisco Pedraza, Bryan Wilcox-Archuleta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Political threats are typically conceptualized by scholars as targeting particular groups of people. We call for also conceptualizing threats as political attacks directed towards particular facets of an individual’s identity portfolio. We reason that individual political responses to political attacks depend on the strength of identity with the group under attack, just as Social Identity Theory anticipates, but we contend that responses also depends on the shared social categories across an identity portfolio. Drawing on data from 2006–2016, we compare the political assessments of various presidential candidates between Mexican heritage Latinos and other non-Mexican heritage Latinos. Given the specificity of the rhetoric towards Mexican heritage Latinos in 2016, we find evidence that Mexicans and non-Mexicans cast distinct judgments of Donald Trump. Yet, we observe no comparable distinction in prior electoral contexts, suggesting that 2016 uniquely politicized the responses among Mexican heritage Latinos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)633-656
Number of pages24
JournalPolitical Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 15 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Latino politics
  • Political attitudes
  • Race and ethnic politics
  • Social Identity Theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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