Skip to main content Accessibility help

Race, Sociopolitical Participation, and Black Empowerment

  • Lawrence Bobo (a1) and Franklin D. Gilliam (a2)

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.

Hide All
Abramson, Paul R., and Claggett, William. 1986. “Race-related Differences in Self-reported and Validated Turnout in 1984.” Journal of Politics 48: 412–22.
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.
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.
Antunes, George, and Gaitz, Charles M.. 1975. “Ethnicity and Participation: A Study of Mexican-Americans, Blacks, and Whites.” American Journal of Sociology 80: 11921211.
Ashenfelter, Orley, and Kelley, Stanley Jr., 1975. “Determinants of Participation in Presidential Elections.” Journal of Law and Economics 18: 711–21.
Babchuk, Nicholas, and Thompson, Ralph V.. 1962. “The Voluntary Associations of Negroes.” American Sociological Review 27: 647–55.
Bobo, Lawrence. 1988. “Attitudes toward the Black Political Movement: Trends, Meaning, and Effects on Racial Policy Preferences.” Social Psychology Quarterly 51: 287302.
Bobo, Lawrence. N.d. “Societal Obligations, Individualism, and Redistributive Policies.” Sociological Forum. Forthcoming.
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.
Bullock, Charles S. III. 1981. “Is There a Conservative Coalition in the House?Journal of Politics 43: 662–82.
Davis, James A., and Smith, Tom W.. 1987. General Social Surveys 1972–1987: Cumulative Codebook and Data File. Chicago: University of Chicago.
Eisenger, Peter K. 1982. “Black Employment in Municipal Jobs: The Impact of Black Political Power.” American Political Science Review 76: 380–92.
Farley, Reynolds, and Allen, Walter R.. 1987. The Color Line and the Quality of Life in America. New York: Russell Sage.
Flanigan, William, and Zingale, Nancy. 1979. Political Behavior of the American Electorate. 4th ed.Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Gilliam, Franklin D. 1985. “Influences on Voter Turnout for U.S. House Elections in Non-Presidential Years.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 3: 339–51.
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.
Gilliam, Franklin D., and Whitby, Kenny J.. 1989. “Race and Attitudes toward Social Welfare Spending.” Social Science Quarterly 70: 86100.
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.
Hamilton, Charles V. 1984. “Political Access, Minority Participation, and the New Normalcy.” In Minority Report, ed. Dunbar, Leslie W.. New York: Pantheon.
Hamilton, Charles V. 1986. “Social Policy and the Welfare of Black Americans: From Rights to Resources.” Political Science Quarterly 101: 239–55.
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.
Jennings, James. 1984. “Blacks and Progressive Politics.” In The New Black Politics, ed. Bush, Rod. San Francisco: Synthesis.
Joint Center for Political Studies. 1986. Black Elected Officials: A National Roster. Washington: JCPS.
Joint Center for Political Studies. 1988. Black Elected Officials: A National Roster. Washington: JCPS.
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.
Katosh, John P., and Traugott, Michael W.. 1981. “The Consequences of Validated and Selfreported Voting Measures.” Public Opinion Quarterly 45: 519–35.
Key, V. O. 1949. Southern Politics in State and Nation. New York: Knopf.
Matthews, Donald R., and Prothro, James W.. 1966. Negroes and the New Southern Politics. New York: Harcourt Brace.
McPherson, J. Miller. 1977. “Correlates of Social Participation: A Comparison of the Ethnic Community and Compensatory Theory.” Sociological Quarterly 18: 197208.
Milbrath, Lester W., and Goel, M. Lal. 1977. Political Participation. New York: University Press of America.
Miller, Arthur H., Gurin, Patricia, Gurin, Gerald, and Malanchuk, Oksana. 1981. “Group Consciousness and Political Participation.” American Journal of Political Science 25: 494511.
Moore, W. John. 1988. “From Dreamers to Doers.” National Journal 20: 372–77.
Myrdal, Gunnar. 1944. An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy. New York: Pantheon.
Nelson, William, and Meranto, Phillip. 1977. Electing Black Mayors. Columbus: Ohio State University Press.
Olsen, Marvin E. 1970. “Social and Political Participation of Blacks.” American Sociological Review 35: 682–97.
Orum, Anthony M. 1966. “A Reappraisal of the Social and Political Participation of Negroes.” American Journal of Sociology 72: 3246.
Patterson, Samuel C., and Caldeira, Gregory A.. 1983. “Getting Out the Vote: Participation in Gubernatorial Elections.” American Political Science Review 77: 675–89.
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.
Presser, Stanley. 1984. “Is Inaccuracy on Factual Survey Items Item-specific or Respondent-specific?Public Opinion Quarterly 48: 344–55.
Shingles, Richard D. 1981. “Black Consciousness and Political Participation: The Missing Link.” American Political Science Review 75: 7691.
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.
Verba, Sydney, and Nie, Norman H.. 1972. Participation in America. New York: Harper & Row.
Walton, Hanes. 1985. Invisible Politics. New York: State University of New York Press.
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.
Whitby, Kenny J. 1987. “Measuring Congressional Responsiveness to Policy Interests of Black Constituents.” Social Science Quarterly 68: 367–77.
Wilson, William J. 1980. The Declining Significance of Race. Rev. ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Wilson, William J. 1987. The Truly Disadvantaged. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Wolfinger, Raymond E., and Rosenstone, Steven J.. 1980. Who Votes? New Haven: Yale University Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed