Hooray, racism is over!

Just kidding.  Also, I’m going to resist the urge to repost the chart that shows Republicans think white people face more discrimination than do Black people (and you think climate denial is denying reality!).  Anyway, some prettty cool new (and predictably depressing) research on the power of racial cues from Matthew Luttig, Christopher Federico (one of my favorite political scientists on twitter), and Howard Lavine nicely summarized by German Lopez in Vox (new goal– produce research interesting enough to be summarized in Vox):

For the study, researchers deployed a survey experiment, sampling more than 700 white people on their support housing assistance programs. (The researchers only used data from white respondents because support among minority groups for Trump was too low to be statistically reliable.) But there was a twist: Respondents were randomly assigned “a subtle image of either a black or a white man.”

The two images used in the study: one of a white man in front of a foreclosure sign, and another of a black man in front of the same sign.

They found that the image of a black man greatly impacted responses among Trump supporters. After they were exposed to the black racial cue, they were not only less supportive of housing assistance programs, but they also expressed higher levels of anger that some people receive government assistance and were more likely to say that individuals who receive assistance are to blame for their situation… [emphasis mine]

In contrast, favorability toward Clinton did not significantly change respondents’ views on any of these issues when primed with racial cues.

The researchers concluded, “These findings indicate that responses to the racial cue varied as a function of feelings about Donald Trump — but not feelings about Hillary Clinton — during the 2016 presidential election.”

Lopez actually continues by addressing a lot of similar PS research with similarly depressing results:

Similarly, other studies have linked greater racial resentment to more support for “tough on crime” policies.

In short, racial attitudes are a powerful predictor for a host of political issues, and racial priming can push people in a more conservative direction. That just so happens to be beneficial for Trump, whose policy agenda is built largely on cracking down on immigrationbringing back “tough on crime” policies, and cutting taxes for the rich and services to the poor.

So with all his racist comments on the campaign trail, Trump not only pandered to his biggest fans, but likely got more people to think in a direction that favored his agenda.

But, hey, Fox News knows better.  It’s hard out here for white guys.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to Hooray, racism is over!

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    I get that Trump supporters usually accept cuts in public housing but tax cuts for zillionaires? Other information from various media suggest many Trump supporters support raising taxes on the very wealthy.
    This concept aligns with both right and left populism.

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