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September 13, 2012 10:00 AM Race Matters, But Not to Whom You Think

By John Sides

Although it is true that whites without college degrees are more likely to view African Americans as “lazy” or to express racial resentment, analyses of data from nationally-representative surveys indicate that whites who hold negative racial beliefs are twice as likely to oppose welfare if they have college degrees than if they do not. Put another way, given two white people, one who went to college and one who didn’t, the former is more likely to express his racial hostility politically in the form of greater opposition to welfare.

From a New York Times piece by Christopher Federico, Howard Lavine, and Christopher Johnston.  It pushes back against one of the most durable of stereotypes: that less-educated or lower class voters are somehow most influenced by racial bias.  Why would certain views of better educated people be more tied to their feelings about blacks?

The simple answer is that education imparts social and political knowledge that prepares people to better read the signals provided by political leaders and the mass media.

More, including other relevant research, at the link.

[Cross-posted at The Monkey Cage]

John Sides is an associate professor of political science at George Washington University.
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