Date of Award

5-7-2020

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Catherine Berheide

Second Advisor

Andrew Lindner

Abstract

This study aims to explore whether the historical institution of slavery in the United States is manifested in contemporary white racial resentment towards African Americans through engaging institutional replication, racial threat, and intergroup contact theories. Present differences in the residential integration of blacks and whites at the county-level is hypothesized to be a mediating factor in the relation between the presence of slavery in 1860 and attitudinal measures of current white racial resentment. This study analyzes three distinct sources of data: the proportion of slaves in 1860 counties is derived from the U.S. Census Bureau, black-white dissimilarity indices are calculated from the 2017 five-year American Community Survey estimates, and racial resentment along with the demographic variables of this study are derived from the 2018 Cooperative Congressional Election Study (n = 10,880). The population of inquiry is narrowed so as only to involve data on the antebellum and postbellum South. While the present findings do not reveal a statistically significant association between slave legacy and white racial resentment, and black-white integration is nonsignificant, this study shows that conservative political ideology is a potent determinant of white racial resentment across all statistical analyses, consistent with insights of prior research. Holding constant all other variables, education, religious affiliation variables, and age impact white racial resentment. These results illuminate the grip of political ideology in the current era on attitudes related to race and provide fruitful foundation for further research.

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