Understanding Inequality: Mexican Americans’ Stratification Beliefs Journal Article uri icon



  • How people understand ethnoracial inequality, or their stratification beliefs, is an important concern for social scientists. Stratification beliefs can be highly influential in the development of individuals’ political attitudes and support for social policies. Despite this, research on stratification beliefs is limited in a number of ways. First, whereas much attention has been given to Whites’, and to some degree Blacks’, stratification beliefs, the attitudes of those in the “racial middle” have been largely neglected, despite their growing demographic presence. Second, much of the literature on stratification beliefs has focused on whether individuals adopt cultural or structural explanations for ethnoracial inequality, with less understanding of how people use a combination of these explanations to interpret inequality. Finally, theoretical and empirical knowledge of stratification beliefs is based largely on survey data. In an attempt to address these gaps, this research draws on interview and supplemental survey data from 70 Mexican Americans to provide an in-depth exploration of their stratification beliefs. The authors pay particular attention to respondents’ use of mixed explanatory modes, illustrating how they draw on cultural and structural discourses to make sense of the world around them. Ultimately, the authors argue that scholars need to pay attention to the interconnections among ideology, everyday experiences, and identity to understand the complexities of stratification beliefs.

publication date

  • June 1, 2020

Full Author List

  • Sue CA; Lambert N

Other Profiles

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 233264922092189

end page

  • 233264922092189