White Backlash – SSN Forum on a Timely New Book
Immigration, according to Marisa Abrajano and Zoltan Hajnal, is reshaping the political identities and attitudes of white Americans – stoking racial tensions and influencing preferences about even apparently unrelated policies. As the 2016 presidential debates begin, Christopher Parker, David Robertson, Katherine Cramer, and Deborah Schildkraut probe the hypothesis that anxieties about immigration are fueling party polarization.
The forum considers White Backlash: Immigration, Race, and American Politics (Princeton University Press, 2015), co-authored by Marisa Abrajano, Associate Professor of Political Science, and Zoltan Hajnal, Professor of Political Science, both at the University of California, San Diego. Hajnal’s work focuses primarily on racial and ethnic politics, urban politics, immigration, and political behavior. As an SSN member he has contributed four briefs, including “Why the Democratic Party – Not Just the GOP – Has an Immigration Problem.”
REFLECTIONS ON WHITE BACKLASH
Christopher S. Parker, University of Washington
"Some whites have become so frightened by the perceived threat of Latino immigration that they have shifted their partisan loyalties from Democrats to Republicans. The mere presence of Latino immigrants, Abrajano and Hajnal conclude, pushes these fearful whites to resist policy measures that could alleviate the suffering of marginalized groups."
David Brian Robertson, University of Missouri-St. Louis
"The U.S. states that have lashed out most forcefully against immigration are disproportionately Southern states with more black than Latino residents."
Katherine Cramer, University of Wisconsin-Madison
"Are attitudes toward immigration really independent of people’s social characteristics and their attitudes toward other policies? Or are people’s ideas about immigration woven into their experiences and ways of understanding themselves – as men or women, as white or black or brown, as a person of economic means or someone struggling to get by?"
Deborah J. Schildkraut, Tufts University
"Will U.S. politics turn on white Republicans versus nonwhite Democrats for the foreseeable future? The good news is that the alignment of race and party might attenuate after it tightens."