Why Place Is So Important for Race

in The Paradoxes of Integration

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780226626628
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226626642 | DOI:
Why Place Is So Important for Race

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In 2008, Barack Obama was elected president of the United States. An African American's victory in the 2008 presidential election was a historic occasion and seemed to usher in a new era of race relations. However, a look at the electoral map comparing the vote margins between 2004 and 2008 suggests a somewhat different pattern. In more than 600 counties, John McCain's margin of victory over Obama was actually higher than that of George W. Bush over John Kerry. These voting patterns can be explained in large part by the racial composition of nearby counties, indicating that social environments are essential for shaping racial attitudes. This chapter explores the relationship between social environments and racial attitudes in multiethnic settings in the United States. It considers how racial attitudes operate in a biracial context and shows that the environmental dynamics shaping whites' racial attitudes toward blacks will also operate in relation to interminority attitudes. The chapter also discusses environmental factors that influence racial attitudes among Latinos and Asian Americans.

Keywords: racial attitudes; social environments; race relations; whites; Latinos; African Americans; United States; Barack Obama; Asian Americans

Chapter.  9767 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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