Findings

Black Swans

Kevin Lewis

February 08, 2011

An Exploration of the Content of Stereotypes of Black Politicians

Monica Schneider & Angela Bos
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do voters have the same stereotypes of Black politicians that they have of Black people in general? We argue that common stereotypes of Blacks (e.g., lazy, violent) may not apply to perceptions of Black politicians. Instead, we hypothesize that Black politicians are a unique subtype of the larger group Blacks, different enough to warrant their own stereotypes. We take an inductive approach to understanding the stereotypes of Black politicians. Employing a classic psychology research design (Katz & Braly, 1933) in which respondents list traits for a target group, we find that there is little overlap of stereotype content between Black politicians and Blacks. Our results therefore indicate that Black politicians constitute a separate and unique subtype of Blacks. Our analysis explores similarities and differences between stereotypes of Black politicians and two other groups: Black professionals (another subtype of Blacks) and politicians. We discuss the implications of our findings for the relationship between stereotypes and voter decisions.

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The Impact of Stereotypical Versus Counterstereotypical Media Exemplars on Racial Attitudes, Causal Attributions, and Support for Affirmative Action

Srividya Ramasubramanian
Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines how exposure to media characters of color shapes viewers' opinions of race-targeted policies. Exemplar-based information processing, attribution theory, and heuristic policy decision-making formed the theoretical foundation for the study. A 2 × 2 factorial experiment (N = 363) exposed participants to stereotypical or counter-stereotypical exemplars representing the in-group (Whites) and the out-group (Blacks). The experiment revealed that exposure to stereotypical African American media characters compared to exposure to counter-stereotypical ones influenced real-world beliefs of African American stereotypes, internal attributions for perceived failures of this out-group, prejudicial feelings toward this out-group, and lack of support for pro-minority affirmative action policies. A structural model established "internal attributions for out-group failures" as a crucial mediator. Implications for entertainment studies and political communication are discussed.

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Speech Patterns and Racial Wage Inequality

Jeffrey Grogger
Journal of Human Resources, January 2011, Pages 1-25

Abstract:
Speech patterns differ substantially between whites and many African Americans. I collect and analyze speech data to understand the role that speech may play in explaining racial wage differences. Among blacks, speech patterns are highly correlated with measures of skill such as schooling and AFQT scores. They are also highly correlated with the wages of young workers. Even after controlling for measures of skill and family background, black speakers whose voices were distinctly identified as black by anonymous listeners earn about 12 percent less than whites with similar observable skills. Indistinctly identified blacks earn essentially the same as comparable whites. I discuss a number of models that may be consistent with these results and describe the data that one would need to distinguish among them.

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Brief report: The number of sexual partners and race-related stress in African American adolescents: Preliminary findings

Danelle Stevens-Watkins, Lynda Brown-Wright & Kenneth Tyler
Journal of Adolescence, February 2011, Pages 191-194

Abstract:
The current study examined the association between the number of lifetime sexual partners and race-related stress among African American 201 high school juniors and seniors at two urban high schools in the Southeastern region of the country. Students completed the Index of Race-Related Stress-Brief (IRRS-B) and the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). African American male adolescents reported higher race-related stress and a higher number of sexual partners compared to African American females. Controlling for gender and age of first intercourse, race-related stress significantly predicted the number of sexual partners for African American adolescents. Preliminary findings indicate that the role of race-related stress may prove critical in decreasing risky sexual behavior among African American adolescents.

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Racial Disparity in Unemployment

Joseph Ritter & Lowell Taylor
Review of Economics and Statistics, February 2011, Pages 30-42

Abstract:
In the United States, black workers earn less than their white counterparts and have higher rates of unemployment. Empirical work indicates that most of this wage gap is accounted for by differences in cognitive skills that emerge at an early age. In this paper, we demonstrate that the same is not true for black-white disparity in unemployment. A large unexplained unemployment differential motivates the paper's second contribution - a potential theoretical explanation. This explanation is built around a model that embeds statistical discrimination into the subjective worker evaluation process that lies at the root of the efficiency-wage theory of equilibrium unemployment.

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Retail Gentrification and Race: The Case of Alberta Street in Portland, Oregon

Daniel Monroe Sullivan & Samuel Shaw
Urban Affairs Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Alberta Street is emblematic of Portland's image as a city that embraces the "creative class," ranking high in being "bohemian" and embracing "diversity." It is a street that has had a decline in Black businesses and an increase in White ones, both mainstream and bohemian. Through interviews with longtime Black and White residents, we find that race is salient for understanding their use and opinion of the new retail sector. Many Blacks have negative feelings, and they use racial language to articulate why they dislike the products offered and how they feel culturally excluded. Longtime, mainstream White residents, in contrast, fully embrace the new retail. These findings should give pause to cities that promote economic development by making themselves attractive to the "creative class": They may be refashioning their cities and neighborhoods - including their retail - in a way that is hostile to some forms of diversity, including longtime Black residents in gentrifying neighborhoods.

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African Americans' Lay Theories About the Detection of Prejudice and Nonprejudice

Matthew Winslow, Angela Aaron & Emmanuel Amadife
Journal of Black Studies, January 2011, Pages 43-70

Abstract:
Two studies examine African Americans' perceptions of prejudice and nonprejudice in Whites and their perceptions of Whites' impression management behaviors related to prejudice. Responses to open-ended questions about what makes them think a person is and is not prejudiced and general advice for Whites were collected from a total of 236 African American university students. The most common behaviors listed that indicated prejudice included name calling and stereotyping. Indications of nonprejudice included positive behaviors (smiling, helping), equal treatment, and seeking out interaction with minorities. Respondents also advised Whites to be authentic. Results also indicated that common impression management behaviors by Whites may backfire. Results are discussed in terms previous research and the complicated nature of interracial interactions.

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The Effect of Obama Saliency on Individual-Level Racial Bias: Silver Bullet or Smokescreen?

Jill Lybarger & Margo Monteith
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
President Obama's election has been construed as a potentially positive force for intergroup relations, but this issue has not been previously addressed experimentally. In Experiment 1, conducted 4-5 months after the election, White participants were either primed with President Obama or nature before completing a variety of race-related measures. Results indicated that priming Obama did not influence implicit racial bias or internal motivation to control prejudice. However, consistent with exemplar and symbolic racism theories, participants primed with President Obama expressed greater agreement with the tenets of symbolic racism, and were more reluctant to accept the possibility that they personally harbored subtle racial bias. Experiment 2, conducted 21 months after the election, replicated the Obama effects from Experiment 1, and showed that priming another Black exemplar (Oprah) also increased symbolic racism. Results suggest that highly successful Black exemplars currently serve as a smokescreen for symbolic and subtle racial biases.

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What's in a Picture? Evidence of Discrimination from Prosper.com

Devin Pope & Justin Sydnor
Journal of Human Resources, January 2011, Pages 53-92

Abstract:
We find evidence of significant racial disparities in a new type of credit market known as peer-to-peer lending. Loan listings with blacks in the attached picture are 25 to 35 percent less likely to receive funding than those of whites with similar credit profiles. Despite the higher average interest rates charged to blacks, lenders making such loans earn a lower net return compared to loans made to whites with similar credit profiles because blacks have higher relative default rates. These results provide insight into whether the discrimination we find is taste-based or statistical.

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Living the dream or awakening from the nightmare: Race and athletic identity

Louis Harrison et al.
Race Ethnicity and Education, January 2011, Pages 91-103

Abstract:
Education is often viewed as the door that leads out of poverty for many students of color. But for many African American boys and young men, the dream of becoming a professional athlete is a door that appears to be wide open. Considering the over-representation of African American athletes in revenue-producing sports in colleges, universities and at the professional ranks, it is no surprise that many African American male youth develop aspirations for, and identify with the athletic role. These aspirations may become even more focused and intense if they ascend to the level of division I college athletes. The identification with the athlete role is likely to intensify as they get closer to the goal of professional sport. Most individuals occupy multiple identities or roles in life such as sibling, student, spouse, employee, athlete, etc. Identity salience and strength depends on the importance of that role. Athletic identity has been defined as the degree to which an individual identifies with the athletic role. Few studies have examined the impact and influences of race on athletic role identification. This study explores the relationship between race and athletic identity. Division I-A African American and Caucasian American football student-athletes' responses to the Athletic Identity Measurement Scale were analyzed (Brewer, Raalte, and Linder 1993). Results indicated that African American football student-athletes have a stronger athletic identity compared to their Caucasian American counterparts. Differences in specific items on the scale indicated that African American student-athletes were more internally focused on their sport, felt that others perceive them only as athletes, and see sport as the focal point in their lives. Differences in these items and implications of these results suggest that there is a potential impact on academic achievement and the student-athlete's aspirations.

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White Concern About Black Favoritism in a Biracial Presidential Election

Young Min Baek & Jocelyn Landau
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Party affiliation has been identified as the most powerful factor explaining citizens' political attitudes and voting decisions. However, history provides several examples of Black Democratic candidates who failed to garner votes from White Democrats during biracial elections. Focusing on perceived concern about Black favoritism and political ambivalence, this study investigates why White citizens' party affiliation loses its influence on candidate evaluation and vote choice in biracial political contests. Relying on the 2008 National Presidential Election between Barack Obama and John McCain as an analytic case study, this research provides evidence that White citizens' concern about Black favoritism in biracial political contests is a consequential factor in (a) reducing favorability toward a Black political candidate among White Democrats and Independents, (b) creating political ambivalence toward the presidential candidate among White Democrats, and thereby (c) increasing the probability of cross-party voting and nonvoting among White Democrats.

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Thou shalt not discriminate: How emphasizing moral ideals rather than obligations increases whites' support for social equality

Serena Does, Belle Derks & Naomi Ellemers
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
An important step toward reducing group-based disparities in society is creating support for equality among advantaged group members (e.g., Whites, men). The current research examined how presenting social equality between ethnic groups in terms of moral ideals (i.e., equal treatment) vs. moral obligations (i.e., non-discrimination) affected the attitudes of Whites (students in Study 1, N = 45 and 2, N = 44 and employees in Study 3a, N = 67 and Study 3b, N = 62) toward various social equality issues. Results showed that participants in the moral ideals condition reported more activation rather than inhibition action tendencies related to improving equality (Study 1), were more supportive of affirmative action (Study 2), indicated lower levels of threat to their social identity, and held more favorable attitudes towards cultural diversity which resulted in greater prioritization of equality (Study 3a). These effects did not arise when the ideals/obligations distinction was applied to a nonmoral domain (i.e., competence, Study 3b), underlining the central argument that these processes are specific to morality. The theoretical implications and limitations of the current work are discussed.

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Parental Job Loss and Children's Educational Attainment in Black and White Middle-Class Families

Ariel Kalil & Patrick Wightman
Social Science Quarterly, March 2011, Pages 57-78

Objectives: We aim to understand why blacks are significantly less likely than whites to perpetuate their middle-class status across generations. To do so, we focus on the potentially different associations between parental job loss and youth's educational attainment in black and white middle-class families.

Methods: We use data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), following those children "born" into the survey between 1968 and 1979 and followed through age 21. We conduct multivariate regression analyses to test the association between parental job loss during childhood and youth's educational attainment by age 21.

Results: We find that parental job loss is associated with a lesser likelihood of obtaining any postsecondary education for all offspring, but that the association for blacks is almost three times as strong. A substantial share of the differential impact of job loss on black and white middle-class youth is explained by race differences in household wealth, long-run measures of family income, and, especially, parental experience of long-term unemployment.

Conclusions: These findings highlight the fragile economic foundation of the black middle class and suggest that intergenerational persistence of class status in this population may be highly dependent on the avoidance of common economic shocks.

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An fMRI Investigation of Attributing Negative Social Treatment to Racial Discrimination

Carrie Masten, Eva Telzer & Naomi Eisenberger
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, May 2011, Pages 1042-1051

Abstract:
We used fMRI to examine the neural responses that occur during experiences of perceived racial discrimination. Previous neuroimaging studies have focused exclusively on the processes underlying racial bias from the perpetrator's perspective and have yet to examine the processes that occur when individuals are being discriminated against. To extend this work, we examined the neural correlates associated with attributing negative social treatment to racial discrimination to explore the cognitive and affective processes that occur as discrimination is being experienced. To do this, we scanned Black participants while they were ostensibly excluded by Whites and then measured distress levels and race-based attributions for exclusion. In response to being socially excluded by Whites, Black participants who appeared to be more distressed showed greater social pain-related neural activity and reduced emotion regulatory neural activity. In addition, those who attributed exclusion to racial discrimination displayed less social pain-related and more emotion regulatory neural activity. The potential negative impact that frequent negative social treatment and discrimination-related distress regulation might have on individuals' long-term mental and physical health is discussed.

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Political Knowledge and the Use of Candidate Race as a Voting Cue

Tetsuya Matsubayashi & Michiko Ueda
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do White voters use candidate race as a voting cue in biracial electoral contests? We argue that the answer to this question depends on the level of political knowledge and information that voters have rather than on their attitudes toward minorities. Our analyses of precinct- and individual-level data show that White voters who are likely to be informed about candidates vote less often for the Democratic party when the candidate is Black, whereas vote choices of White voters who are unlikely to be informed about candidates are unaffected by candidate race.

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Egalitarian goals trigger stereotype inhibition: A proactive form of stereotype control

Gordon Moskowitz & Peizhong Li
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, January 2011, Pages 103-116

Abstract:
Stereotype activation is often described as beyond control, unable to be prevented by willing it or engaging the self-regulatory system. Four experiments illustrate that this initial stage of the stereotyping process is controllable. Stereotypes are shown to be implicitly inhibited as part of a goal shielding process. In each experiment egalitarian goals are triggered through a task in which participants contemplate a past failure at being egalitarian to African American men. This is followed in each experiment by a task that measures stereotype activation/inhibition using reaction times to words (either control words or stereotype-relevant words) that follow the presentation of either faces of Black or White men. Two first experiments examine participants with egalitarian goals versus those with a control goal, whereas the last two experiments examine people with egalitarian goals versus those whose egalitarian strivings have been satisfied (by contemplating success at being egalitarian). Only participants with egalitarian goals exhibit stereotype inhibition, and this occurs despite the fact they lack awareness of the inhibition and lack the conscious intent to inhibit stereotypes at the time the response is made.

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Interactions in Black and White: Racial differences and similarities in response to interracial interactions

Celeste Doerr, Ashby Plant, Jonathan Kunstman & David Buck
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, January 2011, Pages 31-43

Abstract:
The current work examined Black and White people's expectancies for interracial interactions. Across two studies, we found that Black people, compared to White people, had more positive past interracial contact, which statistically explained Black compared to White people's greater self-efficacy for interracial interactions. This self-efficacy, in turn, contributed to less of a desire to avoid future interracial interactions (Study 2) and partially accounted for race differences in actual amounts of subsequent interracial contact (Study 1). However, Black participants also had heightened concerns about being the target of bias in interracial interactions, which contributed to responses to imagined future interactions. These findings suggest that cultural experiences affect individuals' expectancies for interracial interactions and that these expectancies, in turn, have consequences for the quality and quantity of interracial contact.

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Race, Gender, and Symbolic Representation: African American Female Candidates as Mobilizing Agents

Atiya Kai Stokes-Brown & Kathleen Dolan
Journal of Elections, Public Opinion & Parties, November 2010, Pages 473-494

Abstract:
The symbolic importance of women in the political system has been well documented in recent studies. However, these studies frequently overlook the intersectional effect of race and gender on women's political engagement. This article expands the existing research on symbolic representation, assessing the extent to which race shapes female candidates' symbolic political influence. We analyze data from the 2000, 2002, and 2004 NES in order to assess whether the presence of African American female House candidates results in increased political participation among African American women. Our findings show that the presence of black female candidates increases African American women's likelihood of proselytizing and voting. This research bolsters arguments regarding the salience of identity and its broad and lasting consequences for engagement. It also challenges existing perceptions of how women candidates influence political attitudes and behaviors.

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An Odor of Racism: Vaginal Deodorants in African-American Beauty Culture and Advertising

Michelle Ferranti
Advertising & Society Review, Winter 2011

Abstract:
The use of vaginal deodorants such as douches and feminine sprays is a troubling phenomenon due to its association with many adverse health consequences. Complicating this issue is the fact that African-American women are four times as likely to use these products as Caucasian women. This essay seeks to explain this practice as an element of African-American beauty culture. By reframing the use of vaginal deodorants as an aesthetic rather than hygienic practice, the historical racist underpinnings of vaginal deodorization are made evident. Moreover, an examination of advertisements for douches and related products provides significant insight into the historical and contemporary meanings of vaginal deodorization practices in African-American women's lives. The essay begins by examining how pervasive olfactory discrimination against African Americans established personal deodorization as a key to social and legal acceptance in White society. The supposed malodor of African-American women was also linked to damaging sexual stereotypes that made Black women highly vulnerable to predation and violence. The essay continues by showing how manufacturers of vaginal deodorants attempted to exploit racist notions by appealing to African-American consumers' insecurities about personal odors. This appeal is still evident in targeted marketing strategies today. Finally, the essay concludes that aggressive advertising is no longer necessary to maintain the practice of vaginal deodorization among African-American women. The habit has been institutionalized as a cultural norm and is now perpetuated outside the market. Nonetheless marketers have embraced the image of cosmetics for the vagina and are using it to stimulate sales without regard for women's health.


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