Contraction as a Response to Group Status Threat: Demographic Decline and Whites’ Classification of Racially Ambiguous People

How do members of dominant groups, like US Whites, react when their privileged social status is threatened, for example, by the prospect of numeric decline? Prior studies identify two sets of reactions: (1) Whites identify more strongly with ingroup members, and (2) they withhold material and symbolic resources from outgroup members. Boundary-making scholars raise another possibility: Whites may alter the boundary around Whiteness by redefining the criteria for membership. The present study uses an original survey experiment to examine how demographic threat affects US Whites’ classification of people who are racially ambiguous. The results reveal that Whites are less—not more—likely to classify people who are ambiguously White or Latino as “White” under threat. The results contribute to a growing literature on the racial classification of multiracial and racially am- biguous people that has previously ignored ambiguity around the Latino category; they also speak to an active debate about demographic projections and the classification decisions on which they rely.

Greater Diversity or Fewer Whites? Disentangling Heterogeneity and Minority Share at Macro and Micro Levels (with F. Ganter, D. Baldassarri, D. Lacker)

Is ethnoracial diversity associated with negative social outcomes? Although this question has been the subject of a large and growing body of research, scholars have so far failed to consistently distinguish diversity from minority or outgroup share, theoretically or empirically. Theoretically, prior work invokes intergroup conflict/threat theory and related theories to explain alleged associations with diversity. However, the empirical predictions derived from these theories are not consistent with claims about diversity. Elision between diversity and minority/outgroup share masks the fact that the diversity literature has yet to propose a compelling theory according to which individuals respond to diversity, rather than minority/outgroup share. Additionally, empirically testing theoretical claims about diversity is complicated by two obstacles: (1) homogeneously minority communities are underrepresented in the real world, and (2) a macro-level association with diversity is uninformative about the micro-level process that produced it. Individuals need not respond to diversity for an association with diversity to emerge in the aggregate. This paper lays out the conceptual and empirical issues associated with studying diversity. It then models the analytic approach needed to recover empirical associations with diversity at both the macro and micro levels. Through an aggregate and individual-level analysis of 311 calls in NYC, a proxy for neighborhood conflict, we exemplify the high bar scholars must clear in order to advance claims about diversity.

Latino Growth and Whites’ Anti-Black Attitudes, Black Growth and Whites’ Anti-Latino Attitudes

Why Some (Racial) Attitudes Are More Susceptible to Social Desirability Bias Than Others

All in the Family? Skin Color, Labor Market Outcomes, and the Role of Inherited (Dis)Advantage (with D. Garcia)

Discrimination is Reduced When Group Identity can be Misrepresented (with K. Makovi, A. Sargsyan)