"The Declining Status of White Americans and the Rise of the Tea Party"
Please join us for a colloquium being given by Robb Willer , Professor of Sociology at Stanford University.
One controversial account of the rise of the Tea Party asserts that a series of political, economic, and demographic events and trends in late 2008/early 2009 threatened the status of white Americans, fueling heightened racial resentment and popular support for the Tea Party. Results of five survey-based experiments conducted on diverse samples of Americans support this "decline of whiteness" account for Tea Party support, showing that political, economic, and demographic threats to whites' status increase Tea Party support among white Americans. Further, these increases are driven by heightened racial prejudice and are greater where the Tea Party's racialized political positions are highlighted. A final experiment finds that highlighting white Americans' relative economic advantages attenuates white Tea Party supporters' identification with the movement. I conclude by discussing prospects for a more general, "vertical group theory" of status relations among racial and other groups.