What predicts perceived discrimination among white Americans? Findings from two nationally representative studies
Many national or racial majority groups increasingly perceive discrimination against their group, despite objective indicators of advantage. The present studies simultaneously test three individual-level explanations of perceived discrimination among White Americans: system legitimizing beliefs, economic precarity, and group interest, in addition to corresponding predictors at the context (state) level. Using multilevel analysis, we analyzed nationally-representative data from the 2016 American National Election Survey (N = 2631)—an election period marked by discourse about majority group grievances. Results showed that, at the individual level, system-legitimizing beliefs (symbolic racism, conservatism, realistic, and symbolic threat) predicted perceived discrimination among Whites, as did objective (income) and subjective (perceived financial insecurity) economic precarity. Conversely, group interest (indicated by White racial identification) was not a significant predictor. At the state level, support for the Republican candidate also predicted perceived discrimination. These findings replicated with data from the 2012 American National Election Survey (N = 3261). We discuss the implications of White Americans’ discrimination claims in the current socio-political climate. © 2023 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.
Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy
Okuyan, Mukadder; Vollhardt, Johanna Ray; and Stewart, Andrew, "What predicts perceived discrimination among white Americans? Findings from two nationally representative studies" (2023). Psychology. 7.