Can white voters who support a black candidate still have racist beliefs and views?
This question came to the fore in the wake of Glenn Youngkin’s government victory in the bluish state of Virginia. Conservatives were quick to counter-claims that Youngkin win it represented the effectiveness of fueling racial fears with the results of Virginia’s negative ballot election for deputy governor – a contest in which Republican candidate, Winsome Sears, made history by becoming the first black woman elected to a statewide office in Virginia. The Wall Street Journal editorial board, for example, he emphatically mocked the idea that “voters called white supremacists elected a black lieutenant. government.” Conservative commentators on Fox News and Twitter, Included Sears herself, he also used the historic victory as an apparent shield against allegations of Republican racism.
But supporting a black candidate hardly prevents voters from harboring racist beliefs and motivations. the Republicans are increasingly likely than the Democrats for having biased views on minorities, so black Republicans like Sears often get particularly strong support from white Americans with otherwise anti-black views simply because they derive most of their support from Republican voters.
A clear example of this was in the 2016 Republican presidential primary, when Ben Carson made an offer to become the GOP’s first African American presidential candidate. Support for Carson has been positively correlated with the belief that black Americans have too much influence on U.S. politics, according to data from Washington University in St. Louis’s American Panel Survey (TAPS) at the end of 2015:
Whites who thought African Americans had “too little” influence disliked Carson and preferred Hillary Clinton by 60 percentage points in a hypothetical electoral confrontation. Meanwhile, Carson was very popular with whites who were more concerned that African Americans had “too much” influence in politics. So much so that whites who thought African Americans had “too much” influence preferred Carson to Clinton by 45 points.
Again, much of that relationship is due to bias: Republicans are more likely to have biased views and also more likely to support a Republican candidate. But here’s the thing: For many white GOP voters, anti-black views don’t seem to stand in the way of support for a black Republican.
You can see a similar pattern in January Pilot study on studies on the 2016 US National Elections. Carson received more favorable ratings among the sizable minority (40%) of openly prejudiced whites who agreed with the racist stereotype that “most African Americans are more violent than most whites.” This group rated Carson significantly more favorably on a scale of 0 to 100 than the moderate white Republican presidential candidate, Jeb Bush (52 to 39, respectively). Then-candidate Donald Trump was the only politician in the poll who was rated higher than Carson among openly biased whites.
The contrast between how biased whites rate Carson and Obama is also quite revealing. The strong negative relationship between support for Obama and endorsement of anti-black stereotypes is consistent with several Education showing That prejudice What happen? unusually strong predictor of opposition to Obama since the 2008 elections until the end of his presidency. These models also fit well on Other Political Science Research showing that racially biased whites tend to be more against Black Democrats than White Democrats.
To make sense of why racially biased white Americans are willing to support some black candidates, it is worth considering why they are so strongly opposed to Black Democrats in the first place. since racialized nature of the two-party system In the United States, most black political candidates are Democrats who embrace liberal positions on issues of race and justice. When asked if they would support such a candidate, research shows that racially biased white voters fear these candidates represent the interests of black Americans, both because of a shared African American identity and because Democrats are perceived as the party most favorable to the interests of blacks. So, it makes sense that racially resentful white Americans oppose candidates like Obama, as his racial identity. Other the bias signaled to the voters that it was more favorable to black interests compared to previous presidents.
In other words: White voters with racial bias do not oppose black candidates simply because they are black, but because they believe that most black candidates will fight for “those people” and not for “people like us”.
Black Republicans, on the other hand, are perceived differently by racially biased white Americans. Their embrace of the Republican Party and its conservative ideology help ensure racially biased whites that, unlike Black Democrats, they are not tasked with bringing water for their own racial group. Instead, they are seen as distinct from other black elites. If blackness is seen as intertwined with a kind of racial liberalism that is antagonistic to the interests of white Americans, the partisan and ideological commitments of black Republicans dispel concerns that are “them”, not “us”.
This argument is reinforced by more recent scholarship in political science, which found that black candidates who embrace a “bootstrap” ideology – an ideology that focuses on individual rather than structural explanations of inequality – are valued more positively by racially biased whites than their white competitors . Explaining this finding, the authors note that racially biased white voters “might find black Republicans delivering a message of individualism more favorable than other candidates delivering a similar message precisely because the aesthetic character and partisan affiliation of the messenger contradict racial and political expectations. “LaFleur Stephens-Dougan, professor of political science at Princeton University, shows similarly in his book.”Race to the bottom“That racially resentful whites respond well to black candidates who take a stand against the expected positions of their racial group – a phenomenon she calls.”racial distance. “
Finally, voting for black Republicans can also be particularly attractive to racially biased whites because … allay worries of being seen as a racist allowing them to essentially say, “I can’t be racist! I voted for a black candidate! “Psychologists call him”moral credentials, “And there is also some evidence that voters who expressed support for Obama shortly after the 2008 election felt more justified in favoring white Americans over black Americans. Elect a black Republican like Sears, who … it lashes out against the critical theory of race during the run-up to the elections e supports voting restrictions That adversely affect racial minorities, is similarly used as a symbolic shield by the entire party against the inevitable accusations of defending racist policies. As mentioned above, conservative media and politicians are already arming his victory against anyone who would dare to suggest it.
But, of course, the role that race and racism play in American politics is far more nuanced than these simplistic defenses suggest. When racially biased whites stand up to black candidates, it’s not just because of the candidate’s skin color. It is also because they perceive (sometimes wrongly) that black candidates, especially Black Democrats, have ideological commitments contrary to the interests of white Americans. Likewise, when racially biased whites support black republicans, they hardly became progressives on race. Racially biased whites didn’t vote for Sears because they appreciated his attachment and commitment to blacks. They were willing to support her because they paid him.
Race, after all, is a social construct. It has meaning because we imbue it with meaning. Racially biased whites are not hostile to being black per se, they are hostile to a particular manifestation of being black, which reflects a commitment to racial justice and the advancement of the group’s collective goals. Racially biased whites are not very bothered by a manifestation of obscurity that is ideologically consistent with their identities and attitudes. Why should they be? Sears’ conservative politics does not threaten the racial hierarchy, and his candidacy provides cover for an often antagonistic party of racial minorities. For racially biased whites, the real question is what is it? Not love black politicians like Sears?