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Keywords

Latino youth, discrimination, political rhetoric

Abstract

In the last presidential election, Latino populations were the target of prejudicial language and discriminatory rhetoric. Experiences of discrimination may impact adolescent mental health, but little is known about the impact of the election cycle on Latino youth perceptions of discrimination and related emotional outcomes. The aim of this study was to understand Latino youths’ experiences, emotional reactions, and coping responses to discrimination surrounding the 2016 Presidential election. To do this, this study employed a qualitative approach that engaged 30 Latino youth ages 8 to 16 years old from Latino-serving social services agencies in the creation of art based on prompts, dialogue based on that art, and the completion of a demographic survey at the beginning of the study period. Qualitative analysis of the dialogues revealed that youth experienced direct peer discrimination that they attributed to anti-immigrant and anti-Latino political rhetoric and their emotional responses included anger, sadness, and powerlessness. Youth utilized coping responses to discrimination that included direct confrontation to discrimination and utilizing their imagination to respond to discrimination. The results of this study suggest that youth perceived and were impacted by discrimination resulting from anti-immigrant rhetoric that was present during the 2016 presidential election.

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