American Sociological Association

Access to Higher Education of Afro-Peruvians: Disentangling the Influence of Skin Color and Social Origins in the Peruvian Stratification System

Despite recent efforts by the Peruvian government to rectify centuries of injustice against Afro-Peruvians, not much is known about the relative influence of discrimination and social origins on Afro-Peruvians’ access to higher education. Using data from the 2014 Specialized Study of Afro-Peruvian Population and logistic regression, the authors examine the influence of skin color and social origins on access to higher education for Afro-Peruvians. The results suggest that after controlling for individual and contextual indicators, the darkest Afro-Peruvians had significantly lower odds of accessing higher education than the lightest Afro-Peruvians. In addition, Afro-Peruvians whose mothers enrolled in secondary education or beyond had higher odds of accessing higher education than those whose mothers only attained primary education or less. More important, there was an interaction effect between skin color and social origins such that differences in access to higher education between darkest and the lightest Afro-Peruvians were observed only for those whose mothers had obtained secondary or a higher degrees and not for those whose mothers completed primary school or less. The effects of colorism persisted mainly in higher social status contexts.


Martin Benavides, Juan León, Claudia Galindo, and Cedric Herring





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