White Americans' Reactions to Racial Disparities in COVID-19

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9 Scopus citations

Abstract

I fielded a survey experiment on a nationally representative sample of 591 white Americans to test whether exposure to information about the disparate impact of COVID-19 on Black people influenced white Americans' opinion about COVID-19 policies. I found that racially prejudiced white Americans who were exposed to the treatment diminished the importance of wearing a face mask. They also became more supportive of outdoor activities without social distancing guidelines, more likely to perceive shelter-in-place orders as a threat to their individual rights and freedoms, and less likely to perceive African Americans as following social distancing guidelines. Conversely, white Americans who did not endorse an anti-Black stereotype were less likely to perceive shelter-in-place orders as a threat to their individual rights and more likely to perceive African Americans as following social distancing guidelines. These findings highlight that well-intentioned public health campaigns may inadvertently exacerbate existing race-based health disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)773-780
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
Volume117
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 16 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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