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How Racist Ideology Shapes Economic Outcomes

Paper Session

Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Grand Hall East A
  • Chair: Nancy Breen, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities

Blacks for Trump: Who Are the African Americans Who Supported the President and Why Did these African Americans Vote for Him?

Patrick Mason
Florida State University


By extending Darity, et al.’s (2006) theory of racial identity norms to the study of political behavior, we explore two research questions about African Americans who voted for Donald Trump: 1/ who are they? and 2/ why did they support him? Analyses of the 2016 Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey (CMPS) reveal that, while few African Americans casted Trump ballots, the ones who did tended to be male, Midwestern, and married to White spouses. To explain Black Trump voting, we specify a series of reduced-form identity equations in which Black identification and political partisanship are measures of “racial norms,” while all the other variables in the regression models pick up an individual’s incentives to deviate from those norms. Overall, we find that increases in both our racial-norms measures reduce the probability of voting for Trump. However, there are “diminishing marginal returns” in the sense that the impact of partisanship and Black identity on Trump voting begins to decrease after the values in these variables reach a certain level. Our findings inform the literature on race and voter turnout because we demonstrate that, while recent scholarship shows that increased racial identity (e.g., White Nationalism) is associated with Trump voting among Whites, decreased racial identity is associated with Trump voting among African Americans.

The Cult of the Confederacy and the Division of the Working Class

Scott Carter
University of Tulsa


This presentation explores the emergence of a reactionary racist line of thinking among the white working class in the U.S. South with the myth of the “Lost Cause” narrative beginning around 1900 as southern states were enacting Jim Crow. This narrative was a construction based on a mystified narrative of ‘honor’ as being associated with the southern Confederacy. The Lost Cause narrative was constructed in a manner that divided the American working class along racial lines. It is important to emphasize this history to expose as being short on the facts those who, in a contemporary resurgent context, wish to spin the narrative of so-called ’honor’ to the Confederacy as well as promote a racist reactionary agenda to the American white working class. A re-thinking of the history of events from a working-class perspective is needed, specifically the presence of a uniquely American Socialistic movement throughout the United States, especially in the States of Oklahoma, Texas, and other regions of the Midwest and plains, and how the attack on American Socialists occurred at the same time as the racist rhetoric was being spun. Organically-rising working class consciousness was stifled, and with collective bargaining at the level of the shop floor, unions became nothing more than hiring agencies and muscle to keep the riff-raff out, often along racially exclusionary lines. It is this history that brings us to the contemporary context with an effort to envision ways to move forward.

Federal Wealth Policy and the Perpetuation of White Supremacy

Robert B. Williams
Guilford College


Since its inception, the US federal government has strongly promoted the expansion of White wealth. This support included Constitutional guarantees for slaveholders as well as such “manifest destiny” policies as the Indian Removal Act of 1832 and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildalgo. Even the more celebrated Homestead Act and G.I Bill served to expand the opportunities of White households at the expense of households of color. Along with Jim Crow and other exclusionary policies, these laws have created our contemporary disparities in which White households typically have ten times the wealth found in either the Black or Latinx communities. This tradition continues today. Using a dozen tax deductions, the federal government currently supports household wealth accumulation to the tune of over $800 billion annually. Although these tax deductions do not refer to race, they are designed specifically to help wealthier households, thereby perpetuating and expanding the racial wealth gaps. This presentation examines how these policies, ranging from the well-known home mortgage deduction to the less visible home sales exclusion and stepped-up basis loophole, favor wealthier households at the expense of wealth-poor households. Pairing evidence from both the Survey of Consumer Finances and the Joint Committee on Taxation’s Estimates of Federal Tax Expenditures, the presentation will document how these policies have favored White households over both Black and Latinx households. Further, recent changes to these tax deductions have increased their tilt toward wealthier and White households. Combined with the virtual elimination of effective federal estate and gift taxes, our current wealth policies ensure that White households will continue to capture a preponderant share of household wealth even as their share in the population declines.

Spatial Justice, Uneven Development, and Intergenerational Inequality: A 'Postcolonial' United States of America

Jordan Shipley
University of Missouri-Kansas City


From the experience of peoples in the autonomous regions of Native American reservations, declining rural communities, to those in segregated inner cities; this paper investigates processes of spatial injustice and uneven development within the United States during the neoliberal period. The paper explores the legacy of certain colonial processes and the continuing, and self-perpetuating, pattern of uneven development oppressing peoples through the 21st century (Darity, 1992, 2005). Uneven development will be investigated through the lens of (un)employment and the particular processes generating spatial inequities in access to meaningful, living wage employment. These processes are investigated alongside continued residential and activity space segregation based upon race and class, displacement and gentrification, and neoliberal development governance at the urban and regional level (Peck, 2012, 2016; Massey et. al, 2009). The paper connects the concepts of cumulative causation, post-colonial theory, and geographical political economy to create a theoretical framework which addresses the spatiality of development and underdevelopment. A comparative case-study of Kansas City, communities in the rural south and midwest, and semi-autonomous reservations is conducted using geographic information systems and exploratory spatial analysis. The combination of these analytical tools and novel political economic framework allow for a discussion of the implications of these processes of spatial injustice. The implications of this comparative spatial analysis will be discussed with a focus on prescriptions for historically, spatially, and culturally grounded development policies.
William A. Darity
Duke University
JEL Classifications
  • J1 - Demographic Economics
  • H1 - Structure and Scope of Government