Revisiting the Informational Theory: Black Representatives, White Voters and Majority Black Congressional Districts

Posted: 2 Nov 2014

Date Written: October 31, 2014

Abstract

Scholars examining black political representation have focused on the degree to which African American politicians can impact the everyday living conditions of African Americans. Despite years of African American political representation within the United States House of Representatives, political scientists have devoted very little scholarship to examining how whites react to African American leadership. Prior studies that do examine how whites react to African American political representation have only focused on state and local elections leaving scholars to speculate if the findings of those analyses are applicable to congressional and presidential elections. Previous studies at the local level suggest that African American political representation has the potential to facilitate racial learning and therefore improve white racial attitudes, policy preferences for race-targeted legislation, vote choice, and candidate evaluation. Utilizing a representative sample of whites residing in congressional districts represented by an African American from the 2010 and 2012 Cooperative Congressional Election Survey, this work challenges the findings which suggest that black political representation positively impacts white racial attitudes, policy preferences, and vote choice of whites. The findings suggest that black political representation at the congressional level does not facilitate improvements in the areas of racial resentment, white policy preferences, or vote choice at the congressional level. In fact the evidence presented suggest that the longer whites live under African American congressional representation, the more they become racially resentful.

Keywords: Black Representation, Information

Suggested Citation

Riley, Emmitt Y., Revisiting the Informational Theory: Black Representatives, White Voters and Majority Black Congressional Districts (October 31, 2014). 2015 National Conference of Black Political Scientists (NCOBPS) Annual Meeting. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2517459

Emmitt Y. Riley (Contact Author)

DePauw University ( email )

Greencastle, IN 46135
United States
6623920876 (Phone)

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