Time: 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Location: Fifth Floor Haven Hall (Eldersveld Room)
Why do some Whites favor Black candidates?
The Powerful Force of Empathic Concern for African-Americans
Jenn Chudy, Josh Shipper, and Spencer Piston
Previous research has demonstrated that White prejudice against African-Americans is a formidable force in American politics, leading Whites to oppose Black candidates as well as policies intended to benefit Blacks. However, recent studies have also found that certain subpopulations of Whites are actually more likely to support Black candidates than White candidates. Given the focus of previous scholarship on the prevalence of White prejudice against Blacks and its pernicious effects on public opinion and political behavior, this phenomenon of White favoritism for Black candidates is puzzling for students of race and American politics. We identify a powerful force causing some Whites to favor Black political candidates, empathic concern: an emotion of sympathy based on the belief that Blacks have been treated unfairly. We present the results of three studies in support of this contention: two experimental studies and an analysis of a nationally representative dataset.