The Empowering Effects of Racial Messaging: The Link between Racial Outreach, Descriptive Representation and Black Political Mobilization
This paper assesses the influence of racial outreach on Black political participation in the context of United States electoral politics. We argue that racial appeals should inspire higher levels of Black voter enthusiasm because they, in part, improve perceptions of empathy from politicians. However, we expect that racial outreach will matter more when it comes from non-descriptive representatives because Black representatives are perceived as empathetic regardless of their actions. We test these hypotheses using two separate experiments. We find that Black Americans are more politically active when non-Black politicians discuss their intentions to advance Black political interest. We also find that racial appeals provided by descriptive representatives is not a significant predictor of Black voter turnout. Our analysis demonstrates that under certain conditions racial outreach plays an important role in mobilizing underrepresented groups.
Garcia, Jennifer, and Christopher Stout. 2022. "The Empowering Effects of Racial Messaging: The Link between Racial Outreach, Descriptive Representation and Black Political Mobilization." Political Communication 39(5): 589-606.
Taylor & Francis
Comparative American Studies
Racial appeals, Minority candidates, Elections, Political behavior