Catholic Heritage as a Dimension of Ethno-Racial Status in the Dominican Republic

Cristian L. Paredes, University of Texas at Austin

Latin American cultures are undoubtedly influenced by Catholicism, which partially but meaningfully represents the European legacy that situates Latin American societies into the Western world. This influence may be particularly relevant in the Dominican Republic, where local discourses have underlined the role of Catholicism as an essential component of the Dominican identity. In this study, I use nationally- and regionally-representative survey data to investigate whether Catholic self-identification is directly associated with non-Afro ethno-racial self-identifications, and whether individuals who self-identify as Catholic are significantly prejudiced against Haitians. I found regional-level evidence to suggest that Catholic self-identification is directly associated with non-Afro ethno-racial self-identifications, and that individuals who self-identify as Catholic are significantly prejudiced against Haitians. These findings reveal the relevance of the influence of Catholic heritage on ethno-racial self-identification, and on anti-Haitian sentiment, which should be openly addressed by local authorities, and by the leaders of the Dominican Catholic Church.

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 Presented in Session P8. Economy, Labor Force, Education, and Inequality/Gender, Race and Ethnicity