2016. Garcia, Denia and Maria Abascal. “Colored Perceptions: Racially Distinctive Names and Assessments of Skin Color.” American Behavioral Scientist 60(4): 420-441. 

Scholars are increasingly employing skin color measures to investigate racial stratification beyond the dimensions of self- or other-classification. Current understandings of the relationship between phenotypic traits, like skin color, and racial classification are incomplete. Scholars agree that perceptions of phenotypic traits shape how people classify others; it remains to be seen, however, whether racial classification in turn shapes people’s perceptions of phenotypic traits. The present study is based on an original survey experiment that tests whether assessments of others’ skin color are affected by a subtle racial cue, a name. Results indicate that skin color ratings are affected by the presence of a racially distinctive name: A significant share of people will rate the same face darker when that face is assigned a distinctively Hispanic name as opposed to a non-Hispanic name. In addition, ratings of male faces are more sensitive to racially distinctive names. The findings bear important lessons for our understanding of the social construction of race and its role in producing inequalities.

2013. Edward, E. Telles, and Denia Garcia. “Mestizaje and Public Opinion in Latin America.” Latin American Research Review 48(3): 130-152. 

Latin American elites authored and disseminated ideologies of mestizaje or race mixture, but does the general population value them today? Using the 2010 Americas Barometer, we examined public opinion about mestizaje in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru using survey questions that modeled mestizaje both as a principle of national development and as tolerance for intermarriage with black or indigenous people. We found that most Latin Americans support mestizaje, although support varies by country and ethnicity. Across countries, we find partial evidence that the strength of earlier nation-making mestizaje ideas is related to support for mestizaje today, and that strong multicultural policies may have actually strengthened such support. Ethnoracial minorities showed particular support for the national principle of mestizaje. Finally, we discovered that the national principle of mestizaje is associated with more tolerant attitudes about intermarriage, especially in countries with large Afro-descendant populations.