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Published August 18, 2017 | Published
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Are Americans Ambivalent Towards Racial Policies?


Few debates, political or academic, are as conflictual as those over racial policy. In this paper, we explore the possibility that individual attitudes are internally conflictual through the use of inferential statistical techniques that estimate variability in individual respondents' considerations about racial policy. We consider six separate core beliefs potentially relevant towards racial policy choice (modern racism, anti-black stereotyping, authoritarianism, individualism, and anti-semitism), for four different policy choices. We evaluate two separate models for the source of individual variance: conflicting values and direct effects of values. Our analysis leads us to conclude that modern racism trumps rival explanatory variables in explanations of racial policy choice, and that variability in attitudes toward racial policy is due to uncertainty, and not to ambivalence.

Additional Information

Published as Alvarez, R. Michael, and John Brehm. "Are Americans ambivalent towards racial policies?." American journal of political science (1997): 345-374.

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August 20, 2023
August 20, 2023