Latinos and the Skin Color Paradox

Skin Color, National Origin, and Political Attitudes


Direct all correspondence to James Faught, Department of Sociology, Loyola Marymount University, 1 LMU Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90045; e-mail:


For African Americans and Latinos, skin color is a significant predictor of many social and economic stratification variables including income, education, housing, occupational status, spousal status, poverty rates, criminal justice sentencing, and rates of depression. Given these patterns, some scholars have surprisingly found that skin color is not a significant predictor of many political attitudes for African Americans, and called this phenomenon the “skin color paradox.” This article investigates the role of skin color, race, and national origin in predicting political marginality and political commonality among Latinos. The models suggest that skin color is not a significant predictor of political attitudes, consistent with the skin color paradox theory but that national origin does predict some political attitudes.