Hostname: page-component-cd4964975-pf4mj Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-04-02T03:47:54.050Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Race, Sociopolitical Participation, and Black Empowerment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 August 2014

Lawrence Bobo
University of Wisconsin
Franklin D. Gilliam Jr.
University of California, Los Angeles


Using 1987 national sample survey data that included a large black oversample, we reexamine black-white differences in sociopolitical participation. We hypothesized that increases in black empowerment would affect the level of black sociopolitical participation and change the nature of black-white differences in political behavior. The results show that blacks in high-black-empowerment areas—as indicated by control of the mayor's office—are more active than either blacks living in low-empowerment areas or their white counterparts of comparable socioeconomic status. Furthermore, the results show that empowerment influences black participation by contributing to a more trusting and efficacious orientation to politics and by greatly increasing black attentiveness to political affairs. We discuss the results' implications for theoretical interpretations of when and why black sociopolitical behavior differs from that of whites.

Copyright © American Political Science Association 1990

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Abramson, Paul R., and Claggett, William. 1986. “Race-related Differences in Self-reported and Validated Turnout in 1984.” Journal of Politics 48: 412–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Allen, Richard L., Dawson, Michael C., and Brown, Ronald E.. 1989. “A Schema-based Approach to Modeling an African-American Racial Belief System.” American Political Science Review 83: 421–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Anderson, Barbara A., and Silver, Brian D.. 1986. “Measurement and Mismeasurement of the Validity of the Self-reported Vote.” American Journal of Political Science 30: 771–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Antunes, George, and Gaitz, Charles M.. 1975. “Ethnicity and Participation: A Study of Mexican-Americans, Blacks, and Whites.” American Journal of Sociology 80: 11921211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ashenfelter, Orley, and Kelley, Stanley Jr., 1975. “Determinants of Participation in Presidential Elections.” Journal of Law and Economics 18: 711–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Babchuk, Nicholas, and Thompson, Ralph V.. 1962. “The Voluntary Associations of Negroes.” American Sociological Review 27: 647–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bobo, Lawrence. 1988. “Attitudes toward the Black Political Movement: Trends, Meaning, and Effects on Racial Policy Preferences.” Social Psychology Quarterly 51: 287302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bobo, Lawrence. N.d. “Societal Obligations, Individualism, and Redistributive Policies.” Sociological Forum. Forthcoming.Google Scholar
Browning, Rufus, Marshall, Dale Rogers, and Tabb, David H.. 1984. Protest Is Not Enough: The Struggle of Blacks and Hispanics for Equality in Urban Politics. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Bullock, Charles S. III. 1981. “Is There a Conservative Coalition in the House?Journal of Politics 43: 662–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Davis, James A., and Smith, Tom W.. 1987. General Social Surveys 1972–1987: Cumulative Codebook and Data File. Chicago: University of Chicago.Google Scholar
Eisenger, Peter K. 1982. “Black Employment in Municipal Jobs: The Impact of Black Political Power.” American Political Science Review 76: 380–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Farley, Reynolds, and Allen, Walter R.. 1987. The Color Line and the Quality of Life in America. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
Flanigan, William, and Zingale, Nancy. 1979. Political Behavior of the American Electorate. 4th ed.Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
Gilliam, Franklin D. 1985. “Influences on Voter Turnout for U.S. House Elections in Non-Presidential Years.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 3: 339–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gilliam, Franklin D., and Lawrence, Bobo. 1988. “The Motivational Bases of Black Political Participation in the 1980s.” Presented at the annual meeting of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists, Washington.Google Scholar
Gilliam, Franklin D., and Whitby, Kenny J.. 1989. “Race and Attitudes toward Social Welfare Spending.” Social Science Quarterly 70: 86100.Google Scholar
Guterbock, Thomas M., and London, Bruce. 1983. “Race, Political Orientation, and Participation: An Empirical Test of Four Competing Theories.” American Sociological Review 48: 439–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hamilton, Charles V. 1984. “Political Access, Minority Participation, and the New Normalcy.” In Minority Report, ed. Dunbar, Leslie W.. New York: Pantheon.Google Scholar
Hamilton, Charles V. 1986. “Social Policy and the Welfare of Black Americans: From Rights to Resources.” Political Science Quarterly 101: 239–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jackson, Byran O., and Melvin, L. Oliver. 1988. “Race and Politics in the Advanced-Industrial City: A Critical Assessment of Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley's Job Performance.” Presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington.Google Scholar
Jennings, James. 1984. “Blacks and Progressive Politics.” In The New Black Politics, ed. Bush, Rod. San Francisco: Synthesis.Google Scholar
Joint Center for Political Studies. 1986. Black Elected Officials: A National Roster. Washington: JCPS.Google Scholar
Joint Center for Political Studies. 1988. Black Elected Officials: A National Roster. Washington: JCPS.Google Scholar
Jones, Mack H. 1972. “A Frame of Reference for Black Politics.” In Black Political Life in the United States, ed. Henderson, Lenneal J.. San Francisco: Chandler.Google Scholar
Katosh, John P., and Traugott, Michael W.. 1981. “The Consequences of Validated and Selfreported Voting Measures.” Public Opinion Quarterly 45: 519–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Key, V. O. 1949. Southern Politics in State and Nation. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
Matthews, Donald R., and Prothro, James W.. 1966. Negroes and the New Southern Politics. New York: Harcourt Brace.Google Scholar
McPherson, J. Miller. 1977. “Correlates of Social Participation: A Comparison of the Ethnic Community and Compensatory Theory.” Sociological Quarterly 18: 197208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Milbrath, Lester W., and Goel, M. Lal. 1977. Political Participation. New York: University Press of America.Google Scholar
Miller, Arthur H., Gurin, Patricia, Gurin, Gerald, and Malanchuk, Oksana. 1981. “Group Consciousness and Political Participation.” American Journal of Political Science 25: 494511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Moore, W. John. 1988. “From Dreamers to Doers.” National Journal 20: 372–77.Google Scholar
Myrdal, Gunnar. 1944. An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy. New York: Pantheon.Google Scholar
Nelson, William, and Meranto, Phillip. 1977. Electing Black Mayors. Columbus: Ohio State University Press.Google Scholar
Olsen, Marvin E. 1970. “Social and Political Participation of Blacks.” American Sociological Review 35: 682–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Orum, Anthony M. 1966. “A Reappraisal of the Social and Political Participation of Negroes.” American Journal of Sociology 72: 3246.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Patterson, Samuel C., and Caldeira, Gregory A.. 1983. “Getting Out the Vote: Participation in Gubernatorial Elections.” American Political Science Review 77: 675–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Persons, Georgia. 1987. “Blacks in State and Local Government: Progress and Constraints.” In The State of Black America, ed. Dewart, Janet. New York: National Urban League.Google Scholar
Presser, Stanley. 1984. “Is Inaccuracy on Factual Survey Items Item-specific or Respondent-specific?Public Opinion Quarterly 48: 344–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shingles, Richard D. 1981. “Black Consciousness and Political Participation: The Missing Link.” American Political Science Review 75: 7691.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thomas, Melvin E., and Hughes, Michael. 1986. “The Continuing Significance of Race: A Study of Race, Class, and Quality of Life in America, 1972–1985.” American Sociological Review 51: 830–41.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Verba, Sydney, and Nie, Norman H.. 1972. Participation in America. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
Walton, Hanes. 1985. Invisible Politics. New York: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
Williams, Eddie N., and Morris, Milton D.. 1987. “Is the Electoral Process Stacked against Minorities?” In Elections American Style, ed. Reichley, A. James. Washington: Brookings.Google Scholar
Whitby, Kenny J. 1987. “Measuring Congressional Responsiveness to Policy Interests of Black Constituents.” Social Science Quarterly 68: 367–77.Google Scholar
Wilson, William J. 1980. The Declining Significance of Race. Rev. ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Wilson, William J. 1987. The Truly Disadvantaged. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Wolfinger, Raymond E., and Rosenstone, Steven J.. 1980. Who Votes? New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar