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When White Voters Evaluate Black Candidates: The Processing Implications of Candidate Skin Color, Prejudice, and Self-Monitoring

Nayda Terkildsen
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 37, No. 4 (Nov., 1993), pp. 1032-1053
DOI: 10.2307/2111542
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2111542
Page Count: 22
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
When White Voters Evaluate Black Candidates: The Processing Implications of Candidate Skin Color, Prejudice, and Self-Monitoring
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Abstract

A random sample of adults read about one of three fictitious candidates running for governor with a photograph of either a white male, a light-complected black male, or a dark-complected black male attached. The results indicate (1) that black candidates were penalized by white voters based on the candidate's race, skin color, and individual levels of racial prejudice; (2) that voters who were racially intolerant and aware of the negative social consequences of expressing their prejudice engaged in self-monitoring (i.e., they relied on information gained from social circumstances and suppressed the reporting of their negative attitudes toward African American candidates); (3) that skin color differences in the black candidate may have generated distinct forms of cognitive processing. That is, respondents exposed to the light-complected black candidate engaged in automatic cognitive processing, while subjects assigned to the dark-skinned black condition consciously processed racial information. The political consequences of these results are discussed.

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