The Latino Boys and Men: Advancing Scholarship and Community-based Solutions

by Silvia Mazzula; Josephine V. Serrata

Aug 1, 2017

The authors address systemic limitations on understanding the state of the field by using an interdisciplinary and comprehensive approach to identify community-based solutions with Latino men and boys that may not be included in academic literature. They review mainstream academic knowledge, as well as knowledge from community-based initiatives with Latino boys and men in the area of healthy masculinity.

  • The findings from the academic literature scan showed that Latinx are underrepresented in all publications, approximately 38 percent of all studies. While this is reflective of the Latinx population in the United States, an alarmingly low percent of publications approached the Latinx community from a nuanced and complex perspective. Of note, Latino boys and men specifically were included in less than 5 percent of all studies.
  • Non-Latinx White participants tended to be included more often than any other racial group. Only 10 studies did not include non-Latinx White participants.
  • The academic review showed terms such as “Latino” or “Hispanic” tended to be used as a global category without a discussion of within group differences.
  • The findings from the academic literature scan show there is a significant gap in scholarship as it relates to psychological, rather than sociodemographic, racial-cultural variables (e.g., ethnic identity, acculturation, etc.). Although acculturation has been studied predominantly with Latinx and Asian American samples, a very small number of publications included measures of acculturation (whether via established instruments or proxy variables).
  • Latinx also continue to remain fairly invisible in research on race and racial identity. We found no publication incorporated racial markers, and only one study measured racial identity.
  • A relatively low percent of the academic literature included gender-related constructs or measurements. Very few studies examined issues of masculinity that would inform recommendations on promising work with Latino boys and men. Similarly, we found very few studies that included GBTQ participants. There were only 22 articles (out of 3,702, 0.72 percent) that included GBTQ participants and also included Latino males. However, our review of the non-academic literature and interviews showed these discussions are very much a part of community work.
  • What was revealed through the findings was the nuance of programming in working with GBTQ men with an approach that is based on gender fluidity rather than more traditional notions of masculinity, albeit healthier, still aligned with a mainstream definition of “What it means to be a man or father.”