CV/New Projects

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Below is a selection of research papers that I’m currently working on…

The Politics in White Identity: Testing a Racialized Partisan Hypothesis” (with Enya Kuo, Joey Russel, William Scott-Curtis, Jennifer Muñoz, and Megan Tobias)

Note: this project draws on an undergraduate team proposal from Political Science 179: Experiments in Racial and Ethnic Politics

With non-Hispanic Whites in proportional decline in America, researchers are widely documenting racial identity’s effects on this group. But what politicizes White identity? We consider here one mechanism: the racialized partisan hypothesis. Although Whites prevail within each party, the variance around this central tendency varies sharply between them: Republicans are tightly organized around Whites, yet Democrats are structured around Whites who share membership with people of color. This configuration puts White Democrats in a precarious position, as they jockey to bolster their intraparty prominence. We support this claim with survey and experimental evidence. First, we show that White identity is more strongly associated with opposition to minority-centered policies among White Democrats than White Republicans (n=1,295). Second, we demonstrate, experimentally, that racial identity mediates economic threat’s impact on opposition to minority-centered policies among White Democrats (n=400), but not White Republicans (n=400). We discuss our results’ implications for intergroup politics.

“Different Label, Same Identity? Three Experiments on the Uniqueness of Latinx” (with Bianca Vicuña)

Group identities use labels to define what communities stand for. Yet in some cases, multiple labels can refer to the same group (e.g., African American, Black). This raises questions about whether these labels evoke distinct identities. Accumulated work suggests that despite semantic differences, assorted labels evoke substantively similar attachments, since the attributes that unite group members are highly correlated across categories. Some work, though, implies that varied labels can alter the configuration of group attributes in a way that elicits unique identities. We use these insights to evaluate Latinx: a new ethnic label said to imply progressive gender opinions. In three studies, we randomly allocated Latino adults to report attributes that make them unique individuals (control) versus Latinx, Latino, or Hispanic. Priming individuals as Latinx modestly increases support for gender-inclusive policies. This effect does not spill over to other outcomes, such as feelings toward LGBT groups and other minorities, which are already very positive among study participants. These patterns suggest Latinx does not yet evoke a more unique identity because it implies progressive norms for group members, similar to Latino and Hispanic. We explain how these results inform ongoing debates about self-designations among Latinos and other people of color.

“Defending our Space: Racial Group Position and Minority Responses to Outgroup Growth” (with Enya Kuo)

Prior work suggests that reports about Latino demographic growth cause Black and Asian Americans to express more exclusionary attitudes toward Latinos (Craig & Richeson, 2018). This project isolates one possible mechanism driving minorities’ reactions to outgroup growth—a sense of threat rooted in one’s position in America’s racial order. Racial groups in America are positioned along two dimensions: superiority and foreignness. For instance, Blacks  are perceived as low-status but relatively American, while Asians are stereotyped as relatively high-status but foreign (Zou & Cheryan, 2017). In Study 1, Black adults (N=409) who read about Latino growth redefining U.S. culture (vs. control) perceived Americans as a more foreign-infused category, which led them to express more exclusionary attitudes toward Latinos and immigration. In Study 2, Asian American adults (N=405) who read about Latino growth redefining the meaning of being an immigrant (vs. control) perceived immigrants as a more inferior category, which led them to express more opposition to Latinos and immigration. These results suggest that Black and Asian reactions to Latino growth are mediated by perceptions that Latinos are challenging each group’s advantaged position along each dimension—that Blacks are native-born and Asians are high-status.

“Kicking Down, While Climbing Up: What Drives (Some) Latinos to Express Anti-Black Racism?” (with Bianca Vicuña and Crystal Robertson).

Racial and ethnic minorities sometimes express hostility toward other stigmatized groups. But what motivates these reactions and do they matter politically? Fusing research on hierarchy and racism, we contend that minority individuals express intolerant attitudes to minimize their own stigmatization. When social opportunities to join a higher status group arise, marginalized individuals express outgroup prejudice to “prove their worth,” with downstream political effects. We test this hypothesis by studying anti-Black racism among Latinos and Asians. Using national survey data (Studies 1-2), we show that people of color who view themselves as more American express greater anti-Black prejudice, which subsequently heightens their opposition to race-related policies. We then directly manipulate minorities’ sense of feeling American (Studies 3-4), showing that it boosts anti-Black prejudice independently of any material threats. This effect, in turn, generates racially conservative opinions among people of color. These results show how hierarchy facilitates the incorporation of some minorities, while undermining intraminority solidarity.

“When Duty Calls, Do People of Color Answer? Collective Action in a Racially Diverse Polity” (with Jason Chin, Gustavo Martir, and Yuen Huo)

America is fast becoming a majority-minority nation. Yet thorny questions remain about whether Blacks, Latinos, Asians and other non-Whites can unite to achieve collective ends, especially since they differ sharply by how they arrived to the U.S.; how U.S. authorities have treated them; and, what their political goals are. Rather than develop theories which speak uniquely to each of these groups, we propose formulating unified frameworks that can address intergroup politics in every sense of this word—an effort demanding broader scopes, richer data, and closer attention to mechanisms that can account for intergroup variance. We illustrate this by studying a person of color identity (PoC ID), a new pan-racial attachment. Across three parallel studies with Black, Latino, and Asian adults (N=1,866), we show that robust PoC ID levels exist in all three groups, with Black adults viewing themselves as the clearest PoC exemplar. We then demonstrate that higher PoC ID levels heighten collective action by stimulating greater anger and efficacy among higher-identifying PoC. Finally, although PoC ID consistently impacts Black attitudes and behavior, its influence among Latinos and Asians is moderated by their perceived prototypicality as PoC. We discuss the implications of our results for theory-building and data-collection in an increasingly racially diverse polity.