Racial Identity and its Relationship to Political Attitudes.


Sarah Farahat

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Racial diversity has long been a part of history in the United States. The meanings, however, attached to race have changed significantly in the past forty years. Americans of various structural positions (race, class, gender and sexuality) have come to view race in multi-faceted, often oppositional ways.This research examines the relationships between people's racial identity and political attitudes in two phases: one quantitative, one qualitative. Thirty college-aged students representing Asian, White, Latino, African-American and people of mixed race participated in the first phase of the study. Data generated by the two most represented racial/ethnic groups (Latino and White) were analyzed. Recognizing the complexity inherent in racial heterogeneity, members of racial groups were "high or low identified." The survey measured social demographics, identity, and political attitudes about power, similarity with others and attributions about social life outcomes. The analysis included statistical "analysis of variance," correlations and "independent t-tests." Statistical analyses revealed significant racial differences in the scores of distinctly identified group members on the "Just World" scale, in the percentages of self generated race, gender and class identities, and in their perceptions about disparate power held by various social groups. Ongoing research involves qualitative interviews with selected participants. The dovetailing methodology permits a broader, deeper exploration of the origin and personal meaning attached to the above described relationships.


Jaclyn Rodriguez




Support provided by:Ford Research Fellowship

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