Monday, November 8, 2010

Ferdman and Gallegos Model of Latino Identity Development Written by Kathleen Covington

 Theory Overview
Ferdman and Gallegos (2001) Latino identity development and discuss (a) how Latino is used as an umbrella term to identify similar looking cultural groups and people of mixed heritage and (b) suggest Latinos develop orientations or lenses based on experiences with social institutions including the family, education system, peer groups and U.S. cultural racial constructs etc. These lenses include:
(a) Latino Integrated, understanding of racial constructs and ability to challenge them,
(b) Latino Identified, acceptance of the races Latino and White and identification with Latino,
(c) Subgroup Identified, identification of multiple Latino races and identification with a regional subgroup,
(d) Latino as Other, identification as a generic Latino due to mixed heritage,
(e) Undifferentiated, colorblindness, adherence to dominant culture, and tendency to attribute failure to the individual rather then racial constructs, and
(f) White Identified, acceptance of White and Latino races and identification with  White and rejection of Latino.

This theory does not discuss whether a person may have elements of multiple orientations, movement between orientations or the influence of other key external variables such as threats, violence, the use of the term Latino or language ability. We also do not know the strengths associated with each orientation, how orientations influence institutional participation or one’s role within the institution or broad indicators distinguishing people of different orientations. Ferdman and Gallagos do recognize the need to findout “what factors lead to each orientation [and h]ow the specific socialization contexts or life experiences relate to individual orientations.” They also address the need to validate their model through research.

Use in Higher Education
This theory can be used to understand student socialization, how aspirations are constructed and why students have diverse goals. Advisors can use it to offer suggestions for student development opportunities including classes, clubs and student groups, possible positive experiences, and avenues to raise social justice awareness, social consciousness and social change. It can also be used to develop and assess policy and programs including diversity programs, intercultural understanding initiatives, inclusionary community building, fraternity and sorority management, development of safe spaces and anti-discrimination initiatives. Practitioners can recognize the need for safe inclusionary communities which embrace diversity or intercultural interaction make efforts to eliminate discrimination or offensive terminology including inappropriate racial constructs.

Annotated Bibliography Entry
Evans, Forney, Giudo, Patton and Renn (1985).  Student  development in college:
Theory research and practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Evans, Forney, Giudo, Patton and Renn (1985) sought to determine if Latino frats can influence the creation of positive Latino identities. They collected ethnographic data to identify common agents of socialization. Those identified were families, school, peers, government policies, gender and language constructs etc. These contribute to positive or negative identity formation through a) exposure to social agents, b) positive or negative third party perception of race and ethnicity and c) individual assessment of third party perception. They do not mention how perceptions are cognitively developed and concluded that Latino frats provide an environment for cultural celebration, exposure to language, positive ethnic and racial experiences and, thus, cultural appreciation. Positive experience was also influenced by attendance at a Hispanic Serving Institution, the test population was all male, there were only seven frat members and though participants identified their identity orientations according to Ferdman and Gallegos, no real attempt was made to connect experiences with these orientations. Ultimately, Evans and Guardia support the belief that positive or negative racial or ethnic experiences with agents of socialization can affirm or disaffirm ethnic or racial identities. They also found students identified with multiple lenses.

Evans, Forney, Giudo, Patton and Renn (1985).  Student  development in college:
Theory research and practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Ferdman, B. M., & Gallegos, P. I. (2001). Racial identity development and Latinos in the
United States. In C. L. Wijeyesinghe & B. W. Jackson, III (Eds.), New perspectives on Racial Identity Development: A theoretical and practical anthology (pp. 32-66). New York: New York University Press.

Guardia, J., & Evans, N. (2008). Factors influencing the ethnic identity development of
Latino fraternity members at a Hispanic Serving Institution. Journal of College Student Development, 49(3), 163-181. Retrieved from ERIC database.


  1. I appreciated the discussion brought up in class connected with this theory. Particularly the discussion of racial identity in an umbrella of language - similar to Latino identity as an "umbrella" term encompassing many individuals of various ethnic decent - but being connected under the single term "Latino." What I found most interesting about this theory is the "White Identifier" lense where there's an identification of "whiteness" and a disregard of the Latino connection. I knew that racial identity was a complex concept - but this theory allowed me to truly see how complex it actually is.

  2. As we move through learning about different racial identity theories, I can visualize the concept of the "White Identifier" lens to come up again with others (depicted in another way). I think this is due largely to the fact that White is the majority and that is one of the factors to consider when an individual of a different racial background is questioning their identity. When multiple lenses are added in, it definitely makes for a complex concept as Andrea has mentioned.

  3. I thought this framework was pretty good for allot of different groups not just Latinos. I was thinking one day when Sharon asked us to apply some of these theories to ourselves that I could identify what I was reading about here to myself being of multiple northamerican/european cultural heritages. I remember feeling when I was a kid that some of the German cultural attributes were unaccepted and I tended to want to identify with German, or be German identified, to let other people know that I had differing values than some people around me and now I find I do it in the states. I want to identify with Canadian or be Canadian identified, to let people know where my differences in opinion come from. Ultimately i would tend to think I'm Canadian/German identified but I drift in terms of these lenses. This movement between lenses is something Ferdman and Gallegos said they wanted to explore. I personally think there is movement between them. This of course is based on my non-latino experiences and perhaps it is different for different demographics.

  4. First of all I love the presentation Kat gave on this theory. I think sometimes we forget there are other types of cultures in our world. I identify with this theory, because my family keeps telling me to really be Navajo I need to learn how to speak the language. I am looked down upon by my elders because they were taught how important our language is to our tribe. I remember growing up thinking I will never need to learn Navajo because I am not Navajo. But as I have grown and went through my identity crisis I now understand why I need to learn my language. I know this presentation wasn't on the native american perspective but I understand the importance of the language part of the theory.

  5. I have also felt isolated due to the fact that I do not know Spanish or Hebrew. As a Hispanic Jew it is difficult to fit into either cultures without knowing the language. I experienced this isolation in high school, but also in college. The importance of learning the languages of my heritage made an impact on how I identified myself. Factors that made me question my identity included prominent figures like rabbis. Kat's presentation has also helped me understand the significance of language in ethnic identity development, including my Latino identity development.