Date

4-28-2020

Description

Many White Americans strongly identify with their racial group. Does this identity impact their views on policy? Until recently, it was thought that white racial solidarity was essentially inconsequential when it came to the formation of policy preferences. However, recent scholarship has demonstrated that White Americans who exhibit a higher degree of racial solidarity are more likely to support specific policies with respect to immigration and social welfare. This paper expands the literature on White Americans'in-group attitudes by exploring the relationship between white racial solidarity and support for punitive criminal justice policy. Using data collected by the American National Election Studies (ANES), I conduct regression analyses to test the effect of group consciousness,îa belief that one,'in-group should work collectively to achieve shared goals,îon punitiveness among White Americans. In order to measure group consciousness, I aggregate answers to three questions that ask White Americans about their racial identity. In order to measure punitiveness, I use two questions that ask about respondents'support for felon disenfranchisement and capital punishment respectively. While the results of these analyses indicate that higher levels of group consciousness are associated with higher levels of punitiveness, they also indicate that racial resentment has a greater effect on White Americans'preferences on criminal justice policy.

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Apr 28th, 12:00 AM

In-Group Solidarity or Out-Group Resentment?: Evaluating the Foundations of White Punitiveness

Many White Americans strongly identify with their racial group. Does this identity impact their views on policy? Until recently, it was thought that white racial solidarity was essentially inconsequential when it came to the formation of policy preferences. However, recent scholarship has demonstrated that White Americans who exhibit a higher degree of racial solidarity are more likely to support specific policies with respect to immigration and social welfare. This paper expands the literature on White Americans'in-group attitudes by exploring the relationship between white racial solidarity and support for punitive criminal justice policy. Using data collected by the American National Election Studies (ANES), I conduct regression analyses to test the effect of group consciousness,îa belief that one,'in-group should work collectively to achieve shared goals,îon punitiveness among White Americans. In order to measure group consciousness, I aggregate answers to three questions that ask White Americans about their racial identity. In order to measure punitiveness, I use two questions that ask about respondents'support for felon disenfranchisement and capital punishment respectively. While the results of these analyses indicate that higher levels of group consciousness are associated with higher levels of punitiveness, they also indicate that racial resentment has a greater effect on White Americans'preferences on criminal justice policy.