Kevin Lewis

November 09, 2017

The Changing Norms of Racial Political Rhetoric and the End of Racial Priming
Nicholas Valentino, Fabian Neuner & Matthew Vandenbroek
Journal of Politics, forthcoming


We explore the conjecture that norms of racial rhetoric in US campaigns have shifted over the last several years. Prior work suggests that the way politicians talk about race affects the power of racial attitudes in political judgments. Racial priming theory suggests that explicit racial rhetoric - messages overtly hostile toward minorities - would be rejected. When race is cued subtly, however, the power of racial attitudes on issues is significantly enhanced. Replication attempts have recently failed. We identify two historically related shifts that lead us to expect that the effective distinction between explicit and implicit racial rhetoric has declined in recent years. Four nationally representative survey experiments strongly support our predictions: regardless of whether political messages are racially explicit or implicit, the power of racial attitudes is large and stable. Finally, many citizens recognize racially hostile content in political communications but are no longer angered or disturbed by it.

Explaining White Opposition to Black Political Leadership: The Role of Fear of Racial Favoritism
Seth Goldman
Political Psychology, October 2017, Pages 721-739


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.

Do White In-group Processes Matter, Too? White Racial Identity and Support for Black Political Candidates
Gregory Petrow, John Transue & Timothy Vercellotti
Political Behavior, forthcoming


Scholars find that negative evaluations of Blacks lead Whites to vote against Black political candidates. However, can an in-group psychological process have the same effect? We consider White racial identity to be a strong candidate for such a process. We argue that the mere presence of a Black candidate cues the identity, reducing support for these candidates among Whites. We test this hypothesis on vote choice in seven instances. Five of them involve simple vote choice models: the 2008 and 2012 Presidential elections, and three elections in 2010: The Massachusetts Gubernatorial election, Black candidates for the US House, and Black candidates for the US Senate. The other two are tests of the notion that White racial identity reduced President Obama's approval, thus reducing support for all Democratic Congressional candidates in the 2010 Midterm and 2012 Congressional elections. We find support for these notions in all seven cases, across these seven elections, using four different survey research datasets, and four different measures of White identity. Comparisons with other presidential elections show that White identity did not significantly affect mono-racial elections. Furthermore, we find the White identity and racial resentment results to be very similar in terms of their robustness and apparent effect sizes. This indicates in-group evaluations, and those that focus on out-groups, operate independently of one another.

Racial Differences in Neighborhood Attainment: The Contributions of Interneighborhood Migration and In Situ Change
Ying Huang, Scott South & Amy Spring
Demography, October 2017, Pages 1819-1843


Recent research shows that as they age, blacks experience less improvement than whites in the socioeconomic status of their residential neighborhoods. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and U.S. decennial censuses, we assess the relative contribution of residential mobility and in situ neighborhood change (i.e., change surrounding nonmobile neighborhood residents) to the black-white difference in changes in neighborhood socioeconomic status and racial composition. Results from decomposition analyses show that the racial difference in in situ neighborhood change explains virtually all the black-white difference in neighborhood socioeconomic status change. In contrast, racial differences in residential mobility explain the bulk of the black-white difference in neighborhood racial compositional change. Among blacks and whites initially residing in low-income and predominantly minority neighborhoods, whites experience a much greater increase than blacks in the socioeconomic status of their neighborhoods and the percentage of their neighbors who are non-Hispanic white. These differences are driven primarily by racial differences in the economic and racial composition of local (intracounty) movers' destination neighborhoods and secondarily by black-white differences in the likelihood of moving long distances.

Race, ageism and the slide from privileged occupations
George Wilson & Vincent Roscigno
Social Science Research, forthcoming


The sociological literature on workplace inequality has been relatively clear regarding racial disparities and ongoing minority vulnerabilities to contemporary structural and employer biases. We still know little, however, about the consequences of age and ageism for minority workers and susceptibilities to downward mobility. Coupling insights regarding race with recent work on employment-based age discrimination, we interrogate in this article African American and Whites, aged 55 and older, and the extent to which they experience job loss across time. Our analyses, beyond controlling for other key background attributes, also distinguish and disaggregate patterns for higher and lower level status managers and professionals and for men and women. Results, derived from data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, reveal unique and significant disparities. Relative to their White and gender specific counterparts, older African American men and women experience notably higher rates of downward mobility - downward mobility that is not explained by conventional explanations (i.e., human capital credentials, job/labor market characteristics, etc.). Such inequalities are especially pronounced among men and for those initially occupying higher status white-collar managerial and professional jobs compared to technical/skilled professional and blue-collar "first line" supervisors. We tie our results to contemporary concerns regarding ageism in the workplace as well as minority vulnerability. We also suggest an ageism-centered corrective to existing race and labor market scholarship.

School Desegregation and Black Teacher Employment
Owen Thompson
University of Wisconsin Working Paper, September 2017


Prior to the racial integration of schools in the Southern United States, predominantly African American schools were also staffed almost exclusively by African American teachers, and teaching accounted for an extraordinarily large share of professional employment among Southern blacks. The desegregation of Southern schools that followed passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act was a potential threat to black teacher employment, since integration was often achieved by closing or consolidating black schools without meaningful protections for the teachers employed there. Using newly assembled archival data from 852 Southern school districts observed between 1964 and 1972, this paper analyzes how the student desegregation process affected the employment of African American teachers. The primary finding is that a school district transitioning from fully segregated to fully integrated education - which approximates the experience of the modal Southern district in this period - reduced their employment of black teachers by 31.8%. A series of empirical tests indicate that these employment reductions were a causal effect of student desegregation, rather than being due to unobserved school district characteristics or district self-selection into integration. Analyses of Census data similarly find that there was a significant deterioration in the employment outcomes of Southern blacks in teaching-related industries and occupations between 1960 and 1970, relative to Southern white teachers or college educated Southern blacks who were not teachers.

Phenotypic Variations in Violence Involvement: Results from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health
Igor Ryabov
Race and Social Problems, December 2017, Pages 272-290


Numerous studies suggest that our society is stratified not only by race and class, but also by phenotypic characteristics. The main objective of the present investigation was, using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, to elucidate the link between phenotype and violence involvement. Two outcomes were examined: being a perpetrator of violence and criminal justice system contact. Cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses were conducted on Asian, black and Hispanic respondents and as well as on the subsample of siblings. Independent variables included phenotype, socioeconomic status, other family, peer and neighborhood effects. Notwithstanding a certain degree of heterogeneity of outcomes across race-ethnicity, the results indicate a negative relationship between proximity to the European phenotype and the likelihood of violence involvement. In other words, the darker one's complexion, eye and hair color, the higher the likelihood of violence involvement.

Adverse Childhood Experiences and Adolescent Delinquency in a High-Risk Sample: A Comparison of White and Black Youth
Abigail Fagan & Abigail Novak
Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, forthcoming


Research shows that adverse events experienced during childhood (i.e., adverse childhood experiences [ACEs]) are problematic, but few studies have examined race differences in the prevalence and impact of ACEs on delinquency. This study investigated these relationships using prospective data from approximately 600 high-risk families in the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect. Ten ACEs were measured, five types of child maltreatment and five types of household dysfunction. White youth experienced a significantly greater number of ACEs (4.08) compared to Black youth (2.90) and a greater prevalence of seven individual ACEs. According to logistic regression analyses, the number of ACEs significantly increased the likelihood of self-reported alcohol use, marijuana use, violence (in some models), and arrest at age 16 among Blacks but not Whites; race differences were statistically significant for alcohol use, marijuana use, and arrest. The findings support the need for juvenile justice officials to recognize the trauma histories of youth offenders when determining appropriate treatment and sanctions.

Discrimination and anger control as pathways linking socioeconomic disadvantage to allostatic load in midlife
Samuele Zilioli et al.
Journal of Psychosomatic Research, December 2017, Pages 83-90

Methods: Data were drawn from the second wave of the Midlife Development in the U.S. study and included 909 adults who participated in the biomarkers subproject.

Results: Results revealed that perceived discrimination was associated with higher levels of allostatic load. Furthermore, we found evidence that perceived discrimination and anger control sequentially explained the relationship between SED and allostatic load, such that greater discrimination was associated with lower levels of anger control, which, in turn accounted for the effects of discrimination on allostatic load. These results remained significant after controlling for negative affect, other forms of anger expression, as well as demographic covariates.

Homeowner preferences after September 11th, a microdata approach
Adam Nowak & Juan Sayago-Gomez
Regional Science and Urban Economics, forthcoming


The existence of homeowner preferences - specifically homeowner preferences for neighbors - is fundamental to economic models of sorting. This paper investigates whether or not the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11) impacted local preferences for Arab neighbors. We test for changes in preferences using a differences-in-differences approach in a hedonic pricing model. Relative to sales before 9/11, we find properties within 0.1 miles of an Arab homeowner sold at a 1.4% discount (approximately $4133) in the 180 days after 9/11. The results are robust to a number of specifications including time horizon, event date, distance, time, alternative ethnic groups, and the presence of nearby mosques. Previous research has shown price effects at neighborhood levels but has not identified effects at the micro or individual property level, and for good reason: most transaction level data sets do not include ethnic identifiers. Applying methods from the machine learning and biostatistics literature, we develop a binomial classifier using a supervised learning algorithm and identify Arab homeowners based on the name of the buyer. We train the binomial classifier using names from Summer Olympic Rosters for 221 countries during the years 1948-2012. We demonstrate the flexibility of our methodology and perform an interesting counterfactual by identifying Hispanic and Asian homeowners in the data; unlike the statistically significant results for Arab homeowners, we find no meaningful results for Hispanic and Asian homeowners following 9/11.

Loci associated with skin pigmentation identified in African populations
Nicholas Crawford et al.
Science, forthcoming


Despite the wide range of skin pigmentation in humans, little is known about its genetic basis in global populations. Examining ethnically diverse African genomes, we identify variants in or near SLC24A5, MFSD12, DDB1, TMEM138, OCA2 and HERC2 that are significantly associated with skin pigmentation. Genetic evidence indicates that the light pigmentation variant at SLC24A5 was introduced into East Africa by gene flow from non-Africans. At all other loci, variants associated with dark pigmentation in Africans are identical by descent in southern Asian and Australo-Melanesian populations. Functional analyses indicate that MFSD12 encodes a lysosomal protein that affects melanogenesis in zebrafish and mice, and that mutations in melanocyte-specific regulatory regions near DDB1/TMEM138 correlate with expression of UV response genes under selection in Eurasians.


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