WHOSE FAULT IS IT? A SURVEY EXPERIMENT EXAMINING DIFFERENCES IN ATTRIBUTION AND SUPPORT FOR WHITE AND BLACK MEN

Open Access
Author:
Hornstein-Platt, Haydn Leigh
Area of Honors:
Sociology
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Dr. S. Michael Gaddis, Thesis Supervisor
  • Dr. Stacy Silver, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • race
  • race relations
  • attribution
  • internal attribution
  • external attribution
  • level of education
  • political orientation
  • social policy
  • government assistance
Abstract:
Race has an enormous impact on the mindset and collective culture of the United States. Previous research has established that race impacts housing, employment, healthcare, and educational opportunities, partially as a result of ideologies that favor internal attributions. The present research aimed to examine the relationships between attribution and race, and support for social policy and race, in addition to the impacts of level of education, field of study, and social political orientation. To investigate these relationships, participants were randomly assigned to one of six conditions consisting of a vignette, racial indicators and a series of questions on Amazon Mechanical Turk. Results demonstrated that, in line with traditional American ideology, a majority of respondents made internal attributions for difficult life situations. Internal attributions, causative factors linked to personal characteristics or decisions, were more frequently made than external attributions, the causative factors linked to societal structure. However, liberal respondents, white respondents and female respondents were more likely to make external attributions and to support social policy for black individuals than for white individuals. Social political orientation had the strongest relationship with both attribution by racial condition and support for social policy. The trend of more frequent external attributions and stronger policy support for black individuals than for white individuals is noteworthy, and necessitates further research.