Racial Resentment, Political Communication, and Racial Ideologies

In this paper in progress, I present evidence that a classic measure of Americans’ racial prejudice–racial resentment–reflects their exposure to and internalization of dominant norms around race in America.

Most research into racial resentment frames the construct as the most acute measure of white Americans’ racial prejudice, while other scholars argue that the construct simply captures whites’ race-neutral attitudes toward welfare programs. I present several pieces of evidence that I argue demonstrate that the construct actually captures Americans’ exposure to, and internalization of dominant elite explanations for Black-white racial inequality.


I show that the relationship between a cruder measure of racial prejudice (respondents feelings of warmth toward whites minus their feeling of warmth toward Blacks) predicts racial racial resentment (a) more strongly, and (b) less noisily, as respondents become more politically informed.


ANES. “Time Series Cumulative Data File.” Data available here.

Colin Cepuran Written by:

Colin Cepuran is a political scientist and a policy analyst working in Kalamazoo, MI.