White Identity Politics (Cambridge Studies in Public Opinion and Political Psychology)

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Amidst discontent over America’s growing diversity, many white Americans now view the political world through the lens of a racial identity. Whiteness was once thought to be invisible because of whites’ dominant position and ability to claim the mainstream, but today a large portion of whites actively identify with their racial group and support policies and candidates that they view as protecting whites’ power and status. In White Identity Politics, Ashley Jardina offers a landmark analysis of emerging patterns of white identity and collective political behavior, drawing on sweeping data. Where past research on whites’ racial attitudes emphasized out-group hostility, Jardina brings into focus the significance of in-group identity and favoritism. White Identity Politics shows that disaffected whites are not just found among the working class; they make up a broad proportion of the American public – with profound implications for political behavior and the future of racial conflict in America.

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‘For most of the period since the civil rights movement, the best scholarship has found that whites’ identities as white people played little role in their racial politics, at least as compared to their resentments of blacks. Ashley Jardina’s book has changed that. It provides us with the most thorough and convincing evidence of the continuing centrality of white identity in many whites’ thinking about race in America.’ David O. Sears, University of California, Los Angeles

‘For too long now, political scientists have tended to firewall the study of white Americans to the questions of whether out-group bias persists and, if so, whether it continues to bear the virulence of Jim Crow-style racism or manifests in new indirect, implicit strains. White Identity Politics is a breakthrough that invites us to rethink the roots of both white prejudice and white solidarity. This is an indelible and indispensable corrective that ought to be read by anyone bewildered by our current political moment.’ Taeku Lee, University of California, Berkeley

‘White Identity Politics provides a timely and insightful look at American racial politics from the perspective of the white majority. Jardina argues that growing demographic diversity has politicized white identity, generating a sense of white deprivation and defense of white privilege that is distinct from racial animus. Many whites do not identify strongly with their racial group but those who do show clear favoritism for policies and political candidates who promote white interests and maintain white numerical supremacy. By shifting the focus away from white prejudice and toward the defense of white privilege, the book makes an invaluable contribution to the study of American race and ethnic relations.’ Leonie Huddy, Stony Brook University, New York

‘The timing thus could not be better for Duke University political scientist Ashley Jardina’s eye-opening book, White Identity Politics, which uses extensive survey research to explore the meaning of white identity today.’ Richard D. Kahlenberg, Washington Monthly

‘The volume is a smart, well-researched text that uses empirical data to undergird the author’s claims … An important book.’ R. A. Harper, Choice

Book Description

This book is for people who want to understand emerging patterns of white identity and collective political behavior in an increasingly diverse America. Drawing on robust evidence, Jardina shows that many whites possess an activated racial identity and support policies and candidates they see as protecting whites’ power and status.

About the Author

Ashley Jardina is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Duke University, North Carolina. She studies the nature of racial attitudes and group identities and their influence on public opinion and political behavior. Her research has been featured in The New York Times, Vox, and the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage.

Amidst discontent over America’s growing diversity, many white Americans now view the political world through the lens of a racial identity. Whiteness was once thought to be invisible because of whites’ dominant position and ability to claim the mainstream, but today a large portion of whites actively identify with their racial group and support policies and candidates that they view as protecting whites’ power and status. In White Identity Politics, Ashley Jardina offers a landmark analysis of emerging patterns of white identity and collective political behavior, drawing on sweeping data. Where past research on whites’ racial attitudes emphasized out-group hostility, Jardina brings into focus the significance of in-group identity and favoritism. White Identity Politics shows that disaffected whites are not just found among the working class; they make up a broad proportion of the American public – with profound implications for political behavior and the future of racial conflict in America.

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