Explaining White Opposition to Black Political Leadership: The Role of Fear of Racial Favoritism
Journal or Book Title
Despite the election of America's first Black president, most non‐Hispanic Whites continue to oppose Black political leadership. The conventional explanation for White opposition is sheer racial prejudice, yet the available empirical evidence for this theory is inconsistent. I test an alternative theory that Whites perceive Black political leaders as a threat to their group's interests. Using a new survey measure and nationally representative panel data covering the 2008, 2010, and 2012 U.S. elections, I find that a majority of Whites perceive Black elected officials as likely to favor Blacks over Whites. Moreover, fear of racial favoritism predicts support for Barack Obama in both cross‐sectional models and fixed‐effects models of within‐person change, controlling for negative racial stereotypes. I replicate these findings using a separate cross‐sectional survey fielded after the 2014 election that controls for racial resentment. Collectively, these results suggest that perceptions of conflicting group interests—and not just prejudice—drive White opposition to Black political leadership.
UMass Amherst Open Access Policy
Goldman, Seth K., "Explaining White Opposition to Black Political Leadership: The Role of Fear of Racial Favoritism" (2017). Political Psychology. 106.