From John Ray's shorter notes
September 18, 2016
The relationship between conservatism and racism
The nature and extent of the relationship is contested but the Left are quite convinced that it is conservatives who are racist. That conservatives are generally OPPOSED to the blatant racism that is affirmative action never quite gets into their heads. Leftists are OBSESSED with race. They look for racial implications in everything. "Racist" is their big swear sword. Conservatives just wish they would stop.
What Leftists do to support their suspicion of conservatives is to do survey research in which they ask one series of questions that identifies conservatism and then another that identifies racism. That such opinion surveys don't predict racial behaviour has been known since the 1930s but let that pass.
They then ask who agrees most with the statements that express conservatism and then ask are they the same people who agree most with statements expressing racism. And they do generally find some overlap.
An unusually sophisticated study in that mould has just come out that has some interesting results, however. The new study looked at the social context in which the statements were made. What do people say when most people around them are conservative and does that differ from when most people around them are Leftish. And they found that context made a big difference.
What they found was that in a generally conservative society, conservatives were NOT racist. It was only among Leftists that conservatives agreed with some racist statements. So Leftism provokes racism. Who'd a thunk it? The Leftist obsession with race makes conservatives a bit racist too. I find that a big laugh. It certainly torpedoes the conventional Leftist view of conservatives.
In summary: In a conservative environment, where little is heard of the constant Leftist yammering about race, "negative outgroup attitudes" are rare and likely to come from both Right and Left. But a Leftist environment is polarizing. The constant Leftist yammering about the evils of whites and the innocence of minorities causes conservatives to react against that and make them more likely to express attitudes that are critical of "outgroups". So it is actually Leftism that causes "negative outgroup attitudes" to be expressed by conservatives.
The journal abstract is below. For the statistically-minded, note that restriction of range effects were allowed for:
The Mobilizing Effect of Right-Wing Ideological Climates: Cross-Level Interaction Effects on Different Types of Outgroup Attitudes
Jasper Van Assche et al.
The present research investigated a multilevel person-context interactionist framework for the relationship between right-wing ideologies and prejudice across two large, representative samples (Study 1: European Social Survey: N 5 56,752; Study 2: World Values Survey: N 5 74,042). Across three different operationalizations of right-wing ideology, two contextual levels (regional and national) of right-wing climate, and three types of outgroup attitudes (i.e., age-, ethnicity-, and gender-based), the analyses consistently revealed cross-level interactions, showing a strong association between right-wing attitudes and negative outgroup attitudes at the individual level in contexts with a low right-wing climate, whereas this relationship is weaker and often even absent in contexts with a high right-wing climate. These cross-level interactions remained significant after controlling for statistical artefacts (i.e., restriction of range and outliers). The authors propose norm setting as the mobilizing mechanism through which a right-wing climate develops and curbs the influence of individual right-wing social-ideological attitudes on outgroup attitudes.
Political Psychology, 2016. doi: 10.1111/pops.12359
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