Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Lipinski and Huber on Implicit Racial Appeals

Lapinski and Huber have an interesting article in the latest issue of Perspectives on Politics. In it they challenge Tali Mendelberg's notion of implicit bias. Mendelberg makes the argument that direct racial appeals do not work in contemporary society because of the norm of racial equality. Lapinski and Huber claim that implicit appeals are no more effective than explicit racist appeals among the public. Their case is particularly compelling for less educated voters. For this group, they found that:
For these citizens, explicit appeals therefore do not generate the egalitarian counter-reaction that inhibits racial priming,

This Real News Network video featuring interviews with West Virginia voters before the Democratic primary in that state provides some anecdotal evidence that subtlety in racial appeals is not necessary for some constituents.

What I have less trouble buying wholesale is that higher educated voters are not affected by racial appeals. Their argument for why this is the case is that educated people
already bring their racial resentment to bear in expressing policy opinions on important issues that might otherwise be vulnerable to racialization.

They claim that higher educated people are more likely to "self-prime" or bring racial attitudes into their policy decision-making regardless of they types of appeals made. I'm less inclined to buy this argument. I think the type of issue examined has an impact on how much priming effects matter. I also wonder what effect age has on priming effects.

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