Citizens But Not Americans: Race and Belonging Among Latino Millennials



An exploration of how race shapes Latino millennials' notions of national belonging

Latino millennials constitute the second largest segment of the millennial population. By sheer numbers they will inevitably have a significant social, economic, and political impact on U.S. society. Beyond basic demographics, however, not much is known about how they make sense of themselves as Americans.

In Citizens but Not Americans, Nilda Flores-Gonz lez examines how Latino millennials understand race, experience race, and develop notions of belonging. Based on nearly one hundred interviews, Flores-Gonz lez argues that though these young Latina/os are U.S. citizens by birth, they do not feel they are part of the "American project," and are forever at the margins looking in. The book provides an inside look at how characteristics such as ancestry, skin color, social class, gender, language and culture converge and shape these youths' feelings of belonging as they navigate everyday racialization.

The voices of Latino millennials reveal their understanding of racialization along three dimensions--as an ethno-race, as a racial middle and as 'real' Americans. Using familiar tropes, these youths contest the othering that negates their Americanness while constructing notions of belonging that allow them to locate themselves as authentic members of the American national community.

Challenging current thinking about race and national belonging, Citizens but Not Americans significantly contributes to our understanding of the Latino millennial generation and makes a powerful argument about the nature of race and belonging in the U.S.

Product Details

New York University Press
Publish Date
October 03, 2017
5.9 X 0.6 X 8.9 inches | 0.6 pounds

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About the Author

Nilda Flores-González is Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her publications include School Kids/Street Kids: Identity Development in Latino Students.


"In building her argument about how U.S.-born Latino millennials challenge the conventional black-white racial binary, Flores-González redefines the idea that Latinos constitute a racial middle ... This study provides an excellent example of theory building embedded in qualitative research. The author incorporates scholarship from sociology and political science, as well as ethnic studies, to explain the broader theoretical context in a way that is accessible for advanced undergraduate students and beyond. For these reasons, Citizens but Not Americans makes a significant contribution to literature on race, Latinos, and citizenship."--American Journal of Sociology
"Nilda Flores-González challenges scholars to move beyond current conceptualizations of race, the racial order, and national inclusion that do not match Latinos self-understandings as racialized subjects. Her theorization of the & racial middle is the most comprehensive and nuanced analysis of this concept to date. A major contribution to the literature on race in general and on Latinos in particular."--Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Author of Racism without Racists
"Flores-González's research is thorough...This text could become a valuable resourcefor non-Latinos to gain a better understanding of fellow American citizens of Latino heritage, many of whom have been here for generations."--Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
"Professor Flores-González advances theoretical notions of race and belonging by proposing a hybrid framework of ethnoracial citizenship . . . contributes to our understanding of the millennial generationa group that is often talked about but of which we have little scholarly knowledge."--Vilma Ortiz, Co-author of Generations of Exclusion: Mexican Americans, Assimilation, and Race
"A timely book that captures the racial world that Latino millennials experience in the United States. Required reading for people who want a glimpse of what the future is likely to hold for Latinos."--Rogelio Sáenz, Co-author of Latinos in the United States: Diversity and Change
"Uses the poignant voices of Latino millennials to show how being born into the nation does not guarantee a sense of full social inclusion. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in why belonging, race, and citizenship matter for Latinos and the larger society."--Leo Chavez, Author of The Latino Threat: Constructing Immigrants, Citizens, and the Nation