The Situationist

Race and Implicit American-ness

Posted by The Situationist Staff on February 8, 2010

In case you missed it, here is a worthwhile CNN International interview of Thierry Devos and Debbie Ma about their study, titled “Is Barack Obama American Enough to Be the Next President?: The Role of Ethnicity and National Identity in American Politics” (pdf  here).  The study’s introduction is as follows.

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Recent research has demonstrated a tenacious propensity to more readily ascribe the American identity to Whites than to ethnic minorities . . . . Interest in this American = White effect is timely given that a front runner in the 2008 presidential election is African American. The aim of the present research was to determine the role of ethnicity and national identity in the perception of political candidates, as well as identify correlates (behavioral, attitudinal, individual differences) of the American = White effect.

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Roughly, the study found, among other things, that a black candidate may be implicitly conceived of as less American than a white candidate and that the more American a candidate is construed as being the more support that candidate receives.   Here’s the video.

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To read a sample of related Situationist posts, see “Racial Attitudes in the Presidential Race,” “The Situation of Being ‘(un)American’,” The Racial Situation of Voting,” “Why Race May Influence Us Even When We “Know” It Doesn’t,”On Being a Mindful Voter,”Your Brain on Politics,” “Implicit Associations in the 2008 Presidential Election,”The Situation of Political Animals,” “Political Psychology in 2008,” “Perceptions of Racial Divide,The Psychology of Barack Obama as the Antichrist,” and “The Interior Situation of Undecided Voters.”

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