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Partners or Rivals? Power and Latino, Black, and White Relations in the Twenty-First Century, Betina Cutaia Wilkinson

Reviewed by Rodolfo O. De La Garza



Betina Cutaia Wilkinson theorizes that unequal levers of power exist among and across African Americans, Latinos, and whites that foster an “us vs. them” perspective that reflects three categories of variables: social contact, context, and identification with one’s racial/ethnic group. The analysis shows that variations among the three groups in these categories produce divergences in closeness, commonality, and competition between and among them. These patterns affect how the groups respond to various types of policy proposals—for example, when will Latinos join blacks, and when will whites and black collaborate? The answers to such questions significantly affect the nation’s political future.

The book draws from two major data sets, the Latino National Survey and the 2010 Cooperation Congressional Election Study, which is not regularly used in research on Latinos. Despite the limitations of the data, which the author describes well, combining these resources provides a rich foundation for this research. The research also includes a qualitative component based on the results of focus group interviews in New Orleans.

The study presents the results of an extensive number of multiple regressions that test the various aspects of the theory. These results are presented in chapters that analyze each group’s perspectives

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