Contemporary White opposition to Black political action : the case of Black Lives Matter

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Lee, Karen Hanhee

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Scholars have long debated the significance of race in shaping the sociopolitical attitudes of White-Americans in the arena of race-based polices. But few studies have addressed this debate in the context of contemporary black political action. Using nationally representative data from the 2016 American National Election Studies Survey, I investigate the association between racial attitudes and White orientation towards Black Lives Matter, while controlling for prominent race-neutral explanations. Contrary to claims that modern opposition is fueled by ostensibly race-neutral factors such as general orientation towards protest and police, conservative ideology, or a moral equalitarian concern for all lives, I find that racial attitudes are the dominant predictors of contemporary White opposition to the movement. Furthermore, though scholars have argued that colorblind racism is the dominant racial schema of the 21st century, my results indicate that overt racism and nationalism are also highly significant schemas driving White opposition towards Black Lives Matter. Together these insights bring White opposition towards Black Lives Matter into sharper focus and serves as a window into race relations in the contemporary context.



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