ASU professor wins best book award

Mark Ramirez awarded Best Book on Race, Ethnicity, and Politics for 2020 for 'Ignored Racism: White Animus Towards Latinos'

August 17, 2021

The American Political Science Association has named Arizona State University Associate Professor Mark Ramirez’s most recent book the Best Book on Race, Ethnicity, and Politics for 2020.

The book, titled "Ignored Racism: White Animus Toward Latinos" and co-authored with Iowa State Professor David A.M. Peterson, takes a deep dive into how prejudice towards Latinos is commonly expressed as well as the implications of this Latino-specific prejudice on issues including immigration, voting rights, criminal punishment, policing, and elections. ASU associate professor Mark Ramirez ASU Associate Professor Mark Ramirez co-authored "Ignored Racism: White Animus Toward Latinos" with Iowa State Professor David A.M. Peterson. Download Full Image

Published by Cambridge University Press, the work is the culmination of focus group studies, several national surveys and numerous controlled experiments.

An associate professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies, Ramirez is also a faculty affiliate of the Center for Latina/os and American Politics Research.

Ramirez spoke with ASU News about his recent book, which will be recognized at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Political Science Association held Sept. 30–Oct. 3.

Ignored Racism: White Animus Towards Latinos

Question: How might looking at the attitudes white Americans have towards Latinos help us better understand contemporary American politics?

Answer: There are some issues that are inherently connected to Latinos living within the United States. Immigration, guest worker programs, border security are ones that most people would recognize. We show that prejudice towards Latinos strongly relates to preferences on these types of issues for between 35% to 50% of the public. But there are also a number of issues that are supposedly race-neutral that are very racialized. These include issues such as crime control, policing and voting rights. Historically, we knew these issues were related to how people felt about Blacks, but we show that beliefs about Latinos are now just as important. The book forces us to think about how anti-Latino prejudice affects American politics more broadly than simply looking at the immigration debate.

Q: How do beliefs about Latinos become connected to an issue such as voting rights?

A: Americans are making the connection between voting rights and Latinos because of real-world demographic changes and messaging by political leaders that make explicit connections between Latino populations and the need for restrictions on voting. As the Latino population within the United States increases and more become eligible to vote, those people threatened by this change see restrictions on voting rights as a means to maintain their dominance. But the threat of political change itself is not enough to get people to endorse anti-democratic voting policies. Instead, it has to be coupled with preexisting prejudice toward Latinos.

Q: Why does the political debate revolving around Latinos in American society focus on how well Latinos are assimilating to Anglo-American cultural norms?

A: This is historical. The first generations of white, European settlers viewed the various Native peoples as having an inferior culture, and this narrative attached itself to the subsequent mestizo and Latino populations. This perception is partly from natural in-group/out-group differences in how we perceive other cultures, but it was also a strategic play to keep non-Europeans from holding political power. If Latino culture is inferior, then its people were deemed unfit to lead or hold public office. Laws were created to prevent them from doing so. And these discriminatory institutions in turn restricted how Latinos lived, which reinforced these negative stereotypes. In reality, the science shows Latinos assimilate quite well and often better than other immigrant groups have done.

Q: Based on your research, in what ways do you think that racism-ethnicism toward Latinos impacts elections and voting? Did you find this to be a partisan issue?

A: We found Latino racism-ethnicism, which is how we label prejudice toward Latinos because the content is about race and ethnicity, was an important factor in Senate, gubernatorial and presidential elections in 2014 and 2016 — the years we did our national surveys. People harboring racism-ethnicism toward Latinos were more likely to vote for candidates who campaigned on restrictive and anti-capitalist immigration policies. Our data were also suggestive in that people harboring racism-ethnicism toward Latinos were less likely to vote for Latino candidates in House races. We observed these effects for both Democrats and Republicans who held prejudicial beliefs toward Latinos, although those beliefs are more prevalent among members of one party.  

Q: Going forward, what might decrease the impact of Latino racism-ethnicism on politics and policy?

A: The best way might not be through trying to change attitudes, but making sure there are strong institutions — checks and balances that ensure minority rights. This was the approach of the founders, and they were right. Attitudes, especially those relating to prejudice, can be sticky. But strong norms against racism, changing the narrative about Latinos and having political leaders that don’t play to our lowest instincts would all go a long way in attenuating the role that anti-Latino prejudice plays in politics.

Matt Oxford

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Politics and Global Studies


ASU Law welcomes largest, most diverse and highest credentialed class in its history

August 18, 2021

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University will welcome its most highly credentialed class for the fourth year in a row, with the incoming fall 2021 Juris Doctor students holding a median LSAT score of 166 and a median GPA of 3.85, ASU Law’s strongest ever. It is also the largest class in school history, with over 300 first-year JD students attending this fall.

ASU Law also continues to make strides with diversity as it welcomes the highest number of students of color in its history, comprising nearly one-third of incoming first-year JD students. Additionally, women and nonbinary students make up nearly half of the class; LGBTQ students make up over 10%. Photo of ASU Law Co-Interim Dean Zachary Kramer speaking to first-year law students at fall 2021 orientation ASU Law Co-Interim Dean Zachary Kramer speaks to new incoming law students during orientation as the college begins its fall semester. Download Full Image

“These numbers reflect the environment that ASU Law has sought to establish and embody every day — a special institution that gives our students the best possible legal education and is inclusive and responsive to their needs,” said ASU Law Co-Interim Dean Zachary Kramer.

“We are really looking forward to seeing what this amazing class will achieve and are grateful to our wonderful faculty and staff who work so hard to make ASU Law the innovative and dynamic institution it is today,” added ASU Law Co-Interim Dean Adam Chodorow.

Ranked the No. 25 best law school and No. 9 public law school in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, ASU Law also set a record for the fourth year in a row for the number of JD applications it received — more than 5,700, up over 20% from last year. Applications to ASU Law’s JD program have tripled in the past five years.

Over 60% of the JD class comes from outside Arizona, with students hailing from more than 130 undergraduate institutions, over 35 states and eight countries.

In addition to the JD, ASU Law offers a one-year Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree for individuals who want to expand their knowledge of the U.S. legal system and enhance their career opportunities without becoming an attorney. This fall, the MLS program enrolled 175 new MLS in-person and online students. The MLS graduate program continues to identify trending industry needs to provide students with new emphasis areas of study, such as contract management, corporate and health care compliance, construction law, and Indian gaming and self-governance law programs, all without becoming a lawyer.

The Master of Sports Law and Business program welcomed 64 new students, including those who are part of the Veterans Sports Law and Business program.

ASU Law added a fifth program to its degree offerings this year with a new Master of Human Resources and Employment Law degree, with over 30 students enrolled in the program as the inaugural class. The Society of Human Resources Management, a premier HR professional organization with more than 300,000 members nationwide and globally, has recognized ASU Law as the first law school whose HR and employment law curriculum is fully aligned with the society's curriculum guidelines.

More than 37% of incoming students in all of ASU Law master’s degree programs identify as people of color and over 63% are female. The master’s degree programs at ASU Law have developed both national and international reputations, with 70% of students from out of state and hailing from 12 different countries.

ASU Law welcomed four new faculty members in the past year, with six additional joining this fall. These professors will increase the college’s expertise in Indian law, intellectual property, advancing equality, antitrust and international relations.

The newest experts include David Franklyn, who is among the nation’s leading intellectual property and technology law experts; Stacy Leeds, the nation’s first Native American female law dean and a prominent Indian law trailblazer; Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO of New America and former top State Department official; and Ehsan Zaffar, prominent civil rights attorney and senior government adviser.

ASU Law’s new faculty have helped the college launch innovative new centers and programs like The Difference Engine: An ASU Center for the Future of Equality, founded and led by Zaffar, and the renowned McCarthy Institute, which Franklyn runs. ASU Law also launched the Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance programs, the first-ever of their kind in the nation.

Located in Phoenix, the nation’s fifth-largest city and fast-growing hot spot to live and work, ASU Law’s Beus Center for Law and Society is in the heart of downtown, close to leading law firms and the broader legal community.

ASU Law students also have opportunities to study in Washington, D.C., at the ASU Barbara Barrett and Sandra Day O’Connor Washington Center. The college will be expanding its West Coast presence with the expected grand opening early next year of the new ASU California Center in the historic Herald Examiner building in downtown Los Angeles. This will not only give ASU Law students access to internships and externships that will lead to job opportunities in California, but it will also provide a place for them to network and study.

Editor’s note: ASU Law’s figures are subject to change before the final American Bar Association reporting deadline in October. Students of color are students self-identifying their primary ethnicity as either Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, Asian or American Indian/Alaskan Native.

Julie Tenney

Director of Communications, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law