Past Place, Present Prejudice: The Impact of Adolescent Racial Context on White Racial Attitudes
57 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2016 Last revised: 30 Oct 2018
Date Written: October 30, 2018
Extensive research on racial contexts suggests that white Americans living near black Americans adopt more negative racial attitudes. Theoretically, local inter-group exposure has been conceptualized as acting contemporaneously through various mechanisms. However, a separate body of research on political socialization indicates that adolescent experiences are often especially influential. We hypothesize that whites' racial contexts during adolescence produce prejudiced responses. We then test this hypothesis using two complimentary data sets, a population-based panel conducted between 2007 and 2013 and the Youth-Parent Socialization Panel Survey (1965-1997). Our analyses demonstrate the enduring influence of adolescent contexts at larger levels of aggregation: while the racial composition of whites' current counties is not a consistent predictor of racial prejudice, the racial composition of their county during high school is. Proximity during one's formative years increases racial prejudice years later, providing new insights about local contextual effects and the roots of racial prejudice.
Keywords: Racial threat; inter-group threat; political socialization; prejudice; local contextual effects
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