Kevin Lewis

January 19, 2012

The House as a Stepping Stone to the Senate: Why Do So Few African American House Members Run?

Gbemende Johnson, Bruce Oppenheimer & Jennifer Selin
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Although a commonly recognized pathway to the U.S. Senate is through the U.S. House of Representatives, only four African American House members have run for the Senate since the passage of the 17th Amendment, and none have been elected. We examine why so few African American House members run for the Senate. Using an original dataset that includes all House members in the 102nd through the 110th Congresses, we explore the decision of House members, particularly African American House members, to run for the Senate. Despite the fact that so few African American House members have run for the Senate, our results raise doubts about the existence of direct race-based explanations. Instead, we demonstrate with mediation analysis that contextual factors linked to race, such as state population, ability to raise campaign funds, and ideological extremity, play an intervening role in the strategic decision to run. These findings have normative implications for descriptive representation.


Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em? Changing Racial and Regional Differences in Opinions Toward Southerners, 1964-2008

Christopher Cooper & Gibbs Knotts
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: We determine whether Americans have reevaluated opinions toward southerners following the transformation of the region in the decades following the civil rights movement, focusing specifically on how opinions toward southerners vary across racial and regional groups.

Methods: We use both descriptive and multivariate methods to evaluate opinions toward southerners using American National Election Study (ANES) data from 1964 to 2008.

Results: Opinions toward southerners have increased dramatically over time. People living in the South display more positive feelings toward southerners than individuals residing outside the region, although the gap is much smaller today than in previous decades. In addition, southern blacks' opinions toward southerners have improved dramatically. These trends hold even when controlling for a host of other factors.

Conclusions: Being a southerner is no longer a pejorative in the minds of many Americans. Blacks, in particular, have reevaluated their opinions of southerners as a group.


Subtle Discrimination in the Rental Housing Market: Evidence from E-mail Correspondence with Landlords

Andrew Hanson, Zackary Hawley & Aryn Taylor
Journal of Housing Economics, December 2011, Pages 276-284

We find that landlords practice subtle discrimination in the rental housing market through the use of language associated with describing and viewing a unit, inviting further correspondence, making a formal greeting, and using polite language when replying to e-mail inquiries from a white name more often than to an African American name, they also send longer e-mails and respond quicker to white names.


Minority Vulnerability in Privileged Occupations: Why Do African American Financial Advisers Earn Less than Whites in a Large Financial Services Firm?

William Bielby
ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, January 2012, Pages 13-32

Building on recent work on contemporary forms of bias in meritocratic personnel systems, the author assesses sources of racial disadvantage in an output-based pay-for-performance system for compensating financial advisers in a large financial services firm. Using data from expert reports submitted in racial discrimination litigation, the author shows how racial differences in access to white wealth, limits on African Americans' full participation in broker teams, racialized approaches to multicultural marketing, and diffuse lines of authority for diversity and nondiscrimination created racial barriers that were sustained and amplified by a cumulative advantage system for allocating productivity-enhancing resources. The author concludes with a discussion of management strategies for minimizing minority vulnerability in privileged professions and the challenges faced when the sources of bias are neither unconscious nor unintended but are instead located at least in part in racially segregated social relations and power differences among professionals who hold formally equivalent positions in a company's job structure.


The Effect of Name on Pre-Interview Impressions and Occupational Stereotypes: The Case of Black Sales Job Applicants

Stevie Watson, Osei Appiah & Corliss Thornton
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, October 2011, Pages 2405-2420

Name is an important, yet under-researched racial cue that can affect evaluators' opinions, attitudes, and beliefs about minority job applicants. This study examined a two-way ANOVA interaction between name and sales job type on White sales professionals' pre-interview impressions of Black applicants. Results indicated a significant interaction between applicant name and sales job type on pre-interview impressions. For outside sales jobs, Anglicized-named applicants received more favorable pre-interview impressions than did ethnic-named applicants. In addition, pre-interview impressions of Anglicized-named applicants were more favorable for outside versus inside sales jobs. Findings, implications, limitations, and future research directions are discussed.


Influence of discrimination awareness on the occupational interests of African American children

Julie Milligan Hughes
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, November-December 2011, Pages 369-378

This study examined the influence of discrimination awareness on children's occupational interests. Participants included 46 African American children aged 10 to 13. Children completed pretest measures of perceptions of occupational racial discrimination, discrimination-related self-efficacy beliefs, occupational outcome expectations, and the perceived status of their aspired-to and expected occupations. Participants were then randomly assigned to a bias resistance condition or a control condition. After participating in workshops that either did or did not address bias resistance, children completed posttest measures identical to pretest measures. At pretest, the gap in status of children's aspired-to and expected occupations was positively correlated to their perceptions of occupational racial discrimination, and this relation was mediated by occupational outcome expectations. At posttest, children in the bias resistance condition had higher-status occupational expectations than children in the control condition, and this difference was due to improved occupational outcome expectations in the bias resistance condition.


Diversity cues on recruitment websites: Investigating the effects on job seekers' information processing

Jack Walker et al.
Journal of Applied Psychology, January 2012, Pages 214-224

Although job seekers' motivation to process the information encountered during recruitment partially influences recruitment success, little is known about what motivates more thorough information processing. To address this issue, we integrated recruitment and social information processing theories to examine the possibility that diversity cues on recruitment websites influence website viewers' processing of presented information. Utilizing a controlled experiment and a hypothetical organization, Study 1 revealed that both Blacks and Whites spent more time viewing recruitment websites and better recalled website information when the sites included racial diversity cues. These relationships were stronger for Blacks, and organizational attractiveness perceptions mediated these effects for Blacks but not for Whites. Study 2 found similar relationships for Black and White participants viewing real organizational recruitment websites after taking into account perceived organizational attributes and website design effects. Implications of these findings for recruiting organizations are discussed.


The Republican Rhetoric of a Frontier Controversy: Newspapers in the Illinois Slavery Debate, 1823-1824

Adam Rowe
Journal of the Early Republic, Winter 2011, Pages 671-699

This essay uses the printed debate over legalizing slavery in Illinois to examine local leaders' rhetorical and ideological approach to bondage in the early 1820s. Though the controversy over slavery was more heated in Illinois than almost anywhere else, the printed debate reveals a remarkable degree of consensus in the way leaders on both sides approached the issue. Those favoring slavery believed it would hasten the state's development, a motive that became both widespread and pressing in the wake of a severe economic depression. But they were categorically unwilling to argue that bondage would serve Illinois's long-term social or political interests. This reluctance became glaring as the debate entered the press, where proslavery writers attempted to clothe the powerful economic motives for introducing bondage in high minded, republican terms. Though Americans in this era read their newspapers in the same grog-soaked taverns that hosted local political disputes, they expected arguments in the press to appeal to republican principles rather than material interests. Certainly, the two could be combined; antislavery writers proved adept at doing just that. But proslavery writers were considerably less successful. As leaders on both sides of the Illinois slavery contest turned to the newspapers to persuade the electorate, they inevitably brought the debate into this high-minded framework, encouraging those who had demanded slavery as hard-pressed residents on the frontier to consider it as disinterested citizens of a republic. Although history provides many examples of proslavery writers defending slavery in these terms, they were unwilling to do so in Illinois.


Explaining Regional Differences in Black Earnings Discrimination among Full-time Working Men

Don Mar
Review of Black Political Economy, September 2011, Pages 243-251

Using data from the 2000 Census 1% PUMS, this paper analyzes the causes of regional differences in Black earnings discrimination. The methodology is a two stage process used to generate and analyze a cross section of earnings discrimination across cities. In the first stage, a city measure of discrimination is constructed using the Oaxaca decomposition method. The second stage then utilizes these estimated measures of discrimination as a dependent variable in OLS models to test various discrimination theories. While the second stage offers some evidence that increases in the size of both the Black labor force and immigrant labor force are positively related to greater discrimination, increasing overall income inequality is found to robustly increase Black earnings discrimination.


The impact of stress on the life history strategies of African American adolescents: Cognitions, genetic moderation, and the role of discrimination

Frederick Gibbons et al.
Developmental Psychology, forthcoming

The impact of 3 different sources of stress - environmental, familial (e.g., low parental investment), and interpersonal (i.e., racial discrimination) - on the life history strategies (LHS) and associated cognitions of African American adolescents were examined over an 11-year period (5 waves, from age 10.5 to 21.5). Analyses indicated that each one of the sources of stress was associated with faster LHS cognitions (e.g., tolerance of deviance, willingness to engage in risky sex), which, in turn, predicted faster LHS behaviors (e.g., frequent sexual behavior). LHS, then, negatively predicted outcome (resilience) at age 21.5 (i.e., faster LHS → less resilience). In addition, presence of the risk ("sensitivity") alleles of 2 monoamine-regulating genes, the serotonin transporter gene (5HTTLPR) and the dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4), moderated the impact of perceived racial discrimination on LHS cognitions: Participants with more risk alleles (higher "sensitivity") reported faster LHS cognitions at age 18 and less resilience at age 21 if they had experienced higher amounts of discrimination and slower LHS and more resilience if they had experienced smaller amounts of discrimination. Implications for LHS theories are discussed.


Recalling a Difficult Past: Whites' Memories of Birmingham

Sandra Gill
Sociological Inquiry, February 2012, Pages 29-48

This article examines the intersection between collective memory and autobiographical memory through in-depth interviews with twenty whites who came of age in the midst of key events in the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, Alabama. Most interviewees report few autobiographical memories of the events of the Civil Rights Movement and the racial conflict surrounding these events. Instead, many center their recollections on the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. The forgetting of autobiographical memories has been aided by a coalition of silence among whites about the era of integration and by reiterated media images that shaped recollections of the past. These white southerners have been able to renarrativize their pasts to forget memories that link them with the ideology of segregation and to reconstruct the self to be usable in the present. The article demonstrates ways that autobiographical memory is a social construction rather than an act of retrieval.


Race, Diversity and Pro-Social Behavior in a Segmented Society

Justine Burns
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, February 2012, Pages 366-378

This paper examines the impact of racial identity on behavior in trust games played by public high school students in South Africa. There is a systematic pattern of distrust towards Black partners, even by Black proposers, partially attributable to mistaken expectations. Non-Black proposers are significantly less likely to engage in a strategic interaction at all when paired with a Black partner, while Black proposers engage in exchange but at lower levels than when paired with non-Blacks. However, greater racial diversity in public schools promotes pro-social behaviour towards Black partners.


Racial Identity and Risky Sexual Behaviors Among Black Heterosexual Men

Adannaa Oparanozie et al.
Journal of Black Psychology, February 2012, Pages 32-51

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between racial identity and risky sexual behaviors among young Black heterosexual men to better inform future HIV prevention interventions. A community sample of 80 self-identified African American heterosexual men aged 18 to 29 years completed an audio computer-assisted self-interview survey. Bivariate analyses were performed to assess the associations among variables related to demographics, racial identity, and sexual behaviors. Multivariate linear and logistic regression analyses were employed to determine the relationship between racial identity and risky sexual behaviors. Results indicate that more positive feelings toward African Americans and positive attitudes toward being Black predicted fewer sexual partners. The centrality of race was associated with a decrease in the odds of having concurrent sexual partners and marginally predicted increased condom use with a main female partner. Findings suggest that future HIV prevention interventions designed for African American heterosexual men should seek to strengthen their sense of racial identity.


Skin Bleaching and the Prestige Complexion of Sexual Attraction

Christopher Charles
Sexuality & Culture, December 2011, Pages 375-390

This article focuses on the sexual attraction motive for skin bleaching in Jamaica. Some captive Africans on plantations in Jamaica altered their complexion. These Africans modeled the British in the colony who bleached their skin to protect the "superior," "sexy," and ideal white skin from the "impurities" of interracial sex and the tropical climate. The beauty and sexual attraction accorded to light skin was also evident in skin bleaching newspaper ads in the 1950s. The ads told women that acquiring light complexion through skin bleaching would make them sexually attractive to men. The persistence of colorism and its most blatant expression - skin bleaching - is also evident in contemporary Jamaica as expressed in some dancehall songs which praise skin bleachers, and the explanatory narratives of skin bleachers that bleaching makes them pretty and sexually attractive to potential spouses. Similar themes are reflected in the criticism that the browning Dancehall Queen Carlene was deemed sexually attractive and choreographically talented only because of her brown physicality. Some spouses request that their partner acquire the bleached physicality because they find it sexually attractive similar to many male clients in "massage parlors" who only request female sex workers who bleach their skin.


Health Care Segregation and Race Disparities in Infectious Disease: The Case of Nursing Homes and Seasonal Influenza Vaccinations

Kate Strully
Journal of Health and Social Behavior, December 2011, Pages 510-526

Examining nursing home segregation and race disparities in influenza vaccinations, this study demonstrates that segregation may increase both susceptibility and exposure to seasonal flu for black Americans. Evidence based on the 2004 U.S. National Nursing Home Survey shows that individuals in nursing homes with high percentages of black residents have less personal immunity to flu because they are less likely to have been vaccinated against the disease; they may also be more likely to be exposed to flu because more of their coresidents are also unvaccinated. This implies that segregation may generate dual disease hazards for contagious conditions. Segregation appears to limit black Americans' access to personal preventive measures against infection, while spatially concentrating those people who are most likely to become contagious.


Bias in White: A Longitudinal Natural Experiment Measuring Changes in Discrimination

Brian Rubineau & Yoon Kang
Management Science, forthcoming

Many professions are plagued by disparities in service delivery. Racial disparities in policing, mortgage lending, and health care are some notable examples. Because disparities can result from a myriad of mechanisms, crafting effective disparity mitigation policies requires knowing which mechanisms are active and which are not. In this study we can distinguish whether one mechanism - statistical discrimination - is a primary explanation for racial disparities in physicians' treatment of patients. In a longitudinal natural experiment using repeated quasi-audit studies of medical students, we test for within-cohort changes in disparities from medical student behaviors as they interact with white and black patient actors. We find significant increases in medical students' disparate behaviors by patient race between their first and second years of medical school. This finding is inconsistent with statistical discrimination predictions and challenges the idea that statistical discrimination is primarily responsible for racial disparities in patient care.


What makes African American health disparities newsworthy? An experiment among journalists about story framing

Amanda Hinnant et al.
Health Education Research, December 2011, Pages 937-947

News stories reporting race-specific health information commonly emphasize disparities between racial groups. But recent research suggests this focus on disparities has unintended effects on African American audiences, generating negative emotions and less interest in preventive behaviors (Nicholson RA, Kreuter MW, Lapka C et al. Unintended effects of emphasizing disparities in cancer communication to African-Americans. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2008; 17: 2946-52). They found that black adults are more interested in cancer screening after reading about the progress African Americans have made in fighting cancer than after reading stories emphasizing disparities between blacks and whites. This study builds on past findings by (i) examining how health journalists judge the newsworthiness of stories that report race-specific health information by emphasizing disparities versus progress and (ii) determining whether these judgments can be changed by informing journalists of audience reactions to disparity versus progress framing. In a double-blind-randomized experiment, 175 health journalists read either a disparity- or progress-framed story on colon cancer, preceded by either an inoculation about audience effects of such framing or an unrelated (i.e. control) information stimuli. Journalists rated the disparity-frame story more favorably than the progress-frame story in every category of news values. However, the inoculation significantly increased positive reactions to the progress-frame story. Informing journalists of audience reactions to race-specific health information could influence how health news stories are framed.


African Ancestry Is Associated with Asthma Risk in African Americans

Carlos Flores et al.
PLoS ONE, January 2012, e26807

Background: Asthma is a common complex condition with clear racial and ethnic differences in both prevalence and severity. Asthma consultation rates, mortality, and severe symptoms are greatly increased in African descent populations of developed countries. African ancestry has been associated with asthma, total serum IgE and lower pulmonary function in African-admixed populations. To replicate previous findings, here we aimed to examine whether African ancestry was associated with asthma susceptibility in African Americans. In addition, we examined for the first time whether African ancestry was associated with asthma exacerbations.

Methodology/Principal Findings: After filtering for self-reported ancestry and genotype data quality, samples from 1,117 self-reported African-American individuals from New York and Baltimore (394 cases, 481 controls), and Chicago (321 cases followed for asthma exacerbations) were analyzed. Genetic ancestry was estimated based on ancestry informative markers (AIMs) selected for being highly divergent among European and West African populations (95 AIMs for New York and Baltimore, and 66 independent AIMs for Chicago). Among case-control samples, the mean African ancestry was significantly higher in asthmatics than in non-asthmatics (82.0±14.0% vs. 77.8±18.1%, mean difference 4.2% [95% confidence interval (CI):2.0-6.4], p<0.0001). This association remained significant after adjusting for potential confounders (odds ratio: 4.55, 95% CI: 1.69-12.29, p = 0.003). African ancestry failed to show an association with asthma exacerbations (p = 0.965) using a model based on longitudinal data of the number of exacerbations followed over 1.5 years.

Conclusions/Significance: These data replicate previous findings indicating that African ancestry constitutes a risk factor for asthma and suggest that elevated asthma rates in African Americans can be partially attributed to African genetic ancestry.


Testing for Discrimination: Evidence from the Game Show Street Smarts

Shamena Anwar
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, January 2012, Pages 268-285

This paper conducts two alternative tests of discrimination in the game show Street Smarts, which both exploit the unique setup of the game to determine why discrimination occurs. The results indicate non-black contestants have a lower prior perception of the skill level of blacks relative to non-blacks in answering the average question in the game. When results are stratified by question category, one finds that non-black contestants perceive blacks and non-blacks to have equal ability in answering general knowledge questions. However, they perceive blacks to have a lower ability in answering miscellaneous, entertainment, and slang/common saying questions.

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