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Anger and Racial Politics
The Emotional Foundation of Racial Attitudes in America


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  • Date Published: April 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107629271

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About the Authors
  • Politicians, scholars, and pundits often disagree about whether race has been injected into a political campaign or policy debate. Some have suspected that race sometimes enters into politics even when political elites avoid using racial cues or racially coded language. Anger and Racial Politics provides a theoretical framework for understanding the emotional conditions under which this effect might happen. Banks asserts that making whites angry - no matter the basis for their anger - will make ideas about race more salient to them. He argues that anger, and not fear or other negative emotions, provides the foundation upon which contemporary white racial attitudes are structured. Drawing on a multi-method approach, he demonstrates that anger plays an important role in enhancing the impact of race on whites' preferences for putting an end to affirmative action, repealing health care reform, hanging the confederate flag high, and voting for Tea Party-backed candidates.

    • A novel perspective on emotional underpinnings of racial attitudes in America
    • Offers an important theoretical contribution: deconstructing the emotions underlying contemporary racism, old-fashioned racism, and non-racial considerations
    • Demonstrates the conditions that cause race to be more pervasive in American society
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    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2015

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Anger and Racial Politics is a must-read for anyone interested in how modern American democracy functions. It is a pathbreaking book for anyone who hopes to understand the unique and challenging dynamics of race in America.' James Druckman, Payson S. Wild Professor of Political Science, Northwestern University, Illinois

    'Anger and Racial Politics fills a gap in our knowledge of the nature of racial prejudice. In the process, it advances the debate about the relative effects of racial attitudes and nonracial principles, such as small government. But Banks moves well beyond familiar territory, unpacking the emotional underpinnings of racial attitudes and making a strong, novel argument that anger - not fear or disgust - is the main emotional source of white racial resistance in the post-civil rights era. Anger is so closely connected to white Americans' views about African Americans that it acts as a force of its own. With this insight, this book sheds light on both older and more recent political phenomena … A terrific book on an important topic.' Tali Mendelberg, Princeton University, New Jersey, and author of The Race Card: Campaign Strategy, Implicit Messages, and the Norm of Equality

    'This carefully theorized and well-researched study of the role of racial resentment in modern American politics goes beyond previous research by focusing on the emotional underpinnings of racial resentment. It convincingly argues that whites' anger about blacks' demands and unwillingness to take responsibility for their own shortcomings, more than their disgust toward or fear of blacks, is central to their racial attitudes. Racial resentment rooted in anger is in contrast to old-fashioned racism, more rooted in disgust, and ostensibly race-neutral conservatism, based on no particular emotion. This book offers a wide variety of impressive, fresh research findings and is written in a vein that makes it accessible to a broad audience.' David O. Sears, University of California, Los Angeles

    'Anger and Racial Politics is a contribution of strikingly original research that successfully comes to grips with the role of race in contemporary American politics.' Shanto Iyengar, Stanford University, California

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107629271
    • length: 220 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.33kg
    • contains: 45 b/w illus. 18 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. A theory of anger and contemporary white racial attitudes
    2. The emotional foundation of white racial attitudes
    3. The emotional content in racialized campaign ads primes white racial attitudes
    4. The public's anger: racial polarization and opinions toward health care reform
    5. The Tea Party's angry rhetoric and the 2010 midterm elections

  • Author

    Antoine J. Banks, University of Maryland, College Park
    Antoine J. Banks is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, College Park. Banks earned a PhD in Political Science at the University of Michigan in 2009 and a BA in Political Science and African American Studies at Hunter College, City University of New York. Banks specializes in American politics, with a focus on race and ethnic politics, political psychology, public opinion, and voting behavior. His current research interests center on two issues: emotion's importance in triggering the political impact of racial attitudes and emotions as a motivator for political action. His articles have appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, Public Opinion Quarterly, Political Behavior, and Political Psychology.


    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2015

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