Title

The Potential Impact of Race/Ethnicity and Skin Tone on Voter Judgements of Candidates of Color

Document Type

Poster

Event Website

https://source2022.sched.com/

Start Date

16-5-2022

End Date

16-5-2022

Keywords

Skin Tone Bias, Political Candidates, Voting, Diversity

Abstract

Previous work from our lab suggested that political candidates’ intersections of skin tone, and race/ethnicity differently affect voting preferences and interpersonal judgments made by White and non-White participants. In the current study we focused on the influence of candidate race/ethnicity on voters’ preferences for a candidate of color, and the accuracy and impact of memory for candidate skin tone. Participants (N=190) viewed the same political candidate with brown skin tone, self-identified as either Mexican American or African American (randomly assigned) and then were asked about their attitudes and voting intentions regarding the candidate. Supporting hypotheses and prior work, White voters held more negative attitudes and reported being less likely to vote for racially underrepresented candidates (vs non-White voters). Further, participants remembered the candidates as having a lighter skin tone than they did, and the extent of this bias predicted judgments of warmth, trustworthiness, and expertise of the candidate. When presented with the same candidate with the same skin tone, White participants were more likely to vote for the candidate said to be African American (vs Mexican American). These results combined with our previous research, suggest that potential colorism effects led voters to make judgments based not only on the lightness or darkness of a political candidate’s skin tone, but on the intersection between their skin tone and their race/ethnicity (i.e., preferring candidates whose skin tone was lighter relative to their ethnic group). Theoretical, practical, and political implications for candidate judgments influenced by skin tone and race/ethnicity are discussed.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Patrizia Chirco, Tonya Buchanan

Department/Program

Psychology

Additional Mentoring Department

Psychology

Streaming Media

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May 16th, 12:00 AM May 16th, 12:00 AM

The Potential Impact of Race/Ethnicity and Skin Tone on Voter Judgements of Candidates of Color

Previous work from our lab suggested that political candidates’ intersections of skin tone, and race/ethnicity differently affect voting preferences and interpersonal judgments made by White and non-White participants. In the current study we focused on the influence of candidate race/ethnicity on voters’ preferences for a candidate of color, and the accuracy and impact of memory for candidate skin tone. Participants (N=190) viewed the same political candidate with brown skin tone, self-identified as either Mexican American or African American (randomly assigned) and then were asked about their attitudes and voting intentions regarding the candidate. Supporting hypotheses and prior work, White voters held more negative attitudes and reported being less likely to vote for racially underrepresented candidates (vs non-White voters). Further, participants remembered the candidates as having a lighter skin tone than they did, and the extent of this bias predicted judgments of warmth, trustworthiness, and expertise of the candidate. When presented with the same candidate with the same skin tone, White participants were more likely to vote for the candidate said to be African American (vs Mexican American). These results combined with our previous research, suggest that potential colorism effects led voters to make judgments based not only on the lightness or darkness of a political candidate’s skin tone, but on the intersection between their skin tone and their race/ethnicity (i.e., preferring candidates whose skin tone was lighter relative to their ethnic group). Theoretical, practical, and political implications for candidate judgments influenced by skin tone and race/ethnicity are discussed.

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source/2022/COTS/9