By Zoltan L. Hajnal
Regardless of the hopes of the civil rights flow, researchers have chanced on that the election of African americans to place of work has now not vastly more desirable the overall healthiness of the black group. via moving the focal point to the white group, this publication exhibits that black illustration may have a profound effect. using nationwide public opinion surveys, facts on balloting styles in huge American towns, and in-depth reviews of la and Chicago, Zoltan Hajnal demonstrates that below such a lot black mayors there's genuine, confident swap within the white vote and within the racial attitudes of white citizens. this transformation happens simply because black incumbency offers concrete info that disproves the fears and expectancies of many white citizens. those findings not just spotlight the significance of black illustration; additionally they reveal the severe function that info can play in racial politics to the purpose the place black illustration can profoundly adjust white perspectives and white votes.
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Additional info for Changing white attitutes towards black leadership
Individual characteristics other than partisanship may also influence whites’ reactions to black incumbents. Those who know more about the policies and actions of black leaders and their effects on local conditions might more readily learn from and accept black leadership. Individuals who are educated and well informed, however, are also less likely to hold 14 At the same time, there are likely to be some exceptional cases in which the information provided by a black incumbent confirms white fears.
But again, because the least prejudiced individuals are among those least likely to have opposed black leadership initially, it is not clear whether we should really expect more change among this group, and, in practice, it is extremely difficult to assess change in either group. It is almost impossible to evaluate change among the least prejudiced without panel data, because without it we do not know if those individuals who are least prejudiced before the election of a black leader are the same individuals who are least prejudiced afterward.
Since the stability of the racial order is critical to the white community, there is every reason to believe that whites will respond to black electoral victory with counter-mobilization. As Piven and Cloward predicted in the late 1960s before the election of the nation’s first big-city black mayors, “Negro control can only deepen racial cleavages in the urban area” (1977: 17). The backlash model of behavior is supported by the historical record. Most infamously, Southern whites responded to the significant expansion of black political representation during Reconstruction with massive resistance, instituting a program of unprecedented violence, poll taxes, new residency and registration requirements, and at-large elections (Parker 1990; Foner 1984; Holt 1979).
Changing white attitutes towards black leadership by Zoltan L. Hajnal