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CAWP-Funded Research on Race, Ethnicity, and Political Perceptions

New research funded by the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, explores the dynamics of race, ethnicity, and gender on political perceptions in the United States. Two research briefs from scholars supported by our CAWP Research Grants examine the unique challenges that women of intersectional backgrounds face when running for or serving in office.

In Understanding Public Opinion Toward Black Women Political Elites, Sydney L. Carr investigates whether Black women leaders’ dual race-gender identity creates additional disadvantages in terms of public perception compared to their counterparts in other race-gender groups. Among her findings: respondents scoring high on racial resentment and modern sexism metrics are more likely to view Black women as angry or aggressive than they do white women, white men, or Black men. This research points to the necessity for political practitioners to consider how historical stereotypes persist as obstacles for politicians from marginalized, intersecting identities.

Researchers Dan Qi and Cana Kim study how voters respond to Asian American women candidates in The Effects of Gender and Race in Asian American Women’s Political Campaigns. Potential voters in their study were asked to evaluate fictional women candidates, with variations for party (Democrat/Republican), race (white/Asian American), and gender presentation (masculine/feminine/non-gendered traits). This study reveals areas of advantage for Asian American women candidates in comparison to white women candidates on various measures of candidate evaluation, something that may stand in contrast to expectations and demonstrates the importance of research that looks at the multiple identities that women candidates bring to elections. At the same time, the findings suggest that white women may have access to a wider range of presentation strategies.

About the Authors

Sydney L. Carr is an assistant professor at College of the Holy Cross. Her research areas include race, ethnicity, gender, political behavior, and news media.

Dan Qi is a visiting assistant professor of political science at Reed College. Her principal research areas are race-ethnicity, identity politics, and Asian American politics and immigration.

Cana Kim is a postdoctoral research scholar at the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University whose research interests focus on public constraints on foreign policy, as well as media coverage, gender politics, and political psychology.


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