Keeping Minorities Happy: Hierarchy Maintenance and Whites’ Decreased Support for Highly Identified White Politicians

Keeping Minorities Happy: Hierarchy Maintenance and Whites’ Decreased Support for Highly Identified White Politicians

By
Sora Jun, Brian Lowery, Lucia Guillory
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. December
1, 2017, Vol. 43, Issue 12, Pages 1615-1629

We test the hypothesis that, to avoid provoking minorities, Whites will withhold their support for White political candidates who are highly identified with their race. In Study 1, we found that White Republicans were less supportive of White candidates the higher the perceived White identity of the candidate due to beliefs that such candidates would provoke racial minorities. In Study 2, we replicated this effect with a manipulation of candidates’ White identity. Study 3 found that Whites reported less support for high-identity candidates when they were led to believe that the hierarchy was unstable rather than stable. Consistent with our hypothesis that those who have the most to lose are most likely to avoid provoking minorities, in Study 4, we found that Whites with high subjective socioeconomic status (SES) varied their support for provocative White candidates as a function of hierarchy stability, whereas those with low subjective SES did not.