Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study Assesses Impact of Economic Status for Racial and Ethnic Minorities in US

21.09.2006
A new study with direct implications for the politics of immigration and minority groups in this election year finds that improved socioeconomic status among racial and ethnic minorities generally diminishes racial and ethnic group consciousness across a variety of public policies.

However, African Americans are more likely than Latinos and Asian Americans to retain their racial group consciousness regardless of improvements in their economic circumstances because they are more likely to face discrimination in their everyday lives.

The study, authored by Dennis Chong and Dukhong Kim (both of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois), is entitled "The Experiences and Effects of Economic Status Among Racial and Ethnic Minorities" and appears in the August 2006 issue of the American Political Science Review, a journal of the American Political Science Association (APSA). It is available online at www.apsanet.org/imgtest/APSRAug06ChongKim.pdf.

Using data from a national survey conducted by the Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University in 2001, the authors explored how changes in the standard of living of racial and ethnic minorities affected their support for group interests in public policy. They also assessed whether the impact of improvements in economic status on policy preferences depends on the extent to which higher status individuals perceive equal opportunity and experience discrimination.

They found that "vital differences between African Americans and other minority groups in their experiences of economic status affect their tendency to embrace a racial or ethnic identity and pursue group interests in public policy....African Americans place more emphasis on racial considerations than Latinos or Asian Americans," primarily because they face greater socioeconomic barriers than other minorities. Even when African Americans "achieve higher economic status, they continue to experience discrimination and to evaluate their life prospects in racial terms." Higher status Asian Americans and Latinos, by contrast, reduce their emphasis on race and ethnicity because are less likely to experience discrimination as their economic status improves.

The research findings also "suggest the general proposition that the effect of economic status on the group consciousness of all minorities depends on the experiences accompanying that status." Chong and Kim present evidence that "African Americans who have more positive experiences of middle class status give less attention to race and show less support for race-based public policies." The authors also show that, "in general, for all minority individuals who perceive equal opportunity and experience social acceptance, an improved standard of living tends to lead to a weaker focus on race and ethnicity." This pattern is reflected in minority attitudes toward public policies such as affirmative action in employment and education, as well as government programs to ensure equality in jobs, health care, schools, and the administration of the law. "On the other hand," the authors caution, "higher economic status fails to diminish the salience of race and ethnicity among those who encounter frequent discrimination."

The authors conclude by observing "An important lesson from this analysis is that support for racial or ethnic group interests is strengthened by the failure of society to provide equality of opportunity and weakened by favorable experiences of economic status... Structural barriers to individual advancement in the United States have reinforced the tendency of each generation of immigrants to build social and economic networks on the basis of their race and ethnicity in order to amass the collective resources needed to succeed economically and politically."

Although Chong and Kim found similar tendencies among all minorities, there remain hints in the data that support for group interests is more robust among African Americans. Compared to higher status Latinos and Asian Americans, economically secure African Americans were more likely to maintain support for government action to obtain racial equality in employment, education, health care, and law even when they evaluated socioeconomic conditions favorably. Racial consciousness among African Americans may be sustained, according to Chong and Kim, despite improvements in living standards because African American communities -- more so than Latino and Asian American communities -- assign greater utility to collective action and contain institutions such as churches and mass media that promote perceptions of a racial group interest.

The upshot is that people emphasize or downplay their racial and ethnic memberships partly depending on the utility of those identifications. When racial or ethnic discrimination restrict economic opportunities and social mobility, minorities are more likely to identify with the group and pursue collective means to improve their status. By contrast, those who feel less constrained by their minority status are more likely to downplay racial or ethnic considerations as their economic situation improves. Such individuals give greater weight to their own life circumstances as opposed to the group's condition, and are more inclined to evaluate government policies in terms of how those policies will impinge on themselves.

This research addresses key linkages between group identity and the policy preferences among three major minority groups in America today that surely will have implications for voting patterns in this election year cycle and beyond.

Bahram Rajaee | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.apsanet.org
http://www.politicalsciencenews.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>