Shifting Racial Schemas: From Post-racial to New “Old-fashioned” Racism

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1 Scopus citations


Our study demonstrates how people manage racial dissonance when faced with situations that conflict with their understandings of racial dynamics. Borrowing from scholarship on culture and cognition, we use the concept of schema to examine how 36 Latinx young adults make sense of a changing racial terrain that defies their racial understandings. During the Obama years, Latinxs doubted or made allowances for the discrimination they experienced because it contradicted their post-racial understandings of race. When discrimination became blatant during the Trump years, they adopted a new “old-fashioned” racism schema based, but not identical to, notions of pre-Civil Rights racism. Our findings point to a new understanding of racism and an expanding cultural repertoire that includes a new “old-fashioned” racial frame to help young Latinxs navigate their racial experiences. These findings have implications for understanding how people can shift, develop, and expand their schemas to navigate a changing racial terrain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-363
Number of pages23
JournalSociological Inquiry
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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