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Are Black state legislators more responsive to emails associated with the NAACP versus BLM? A field experiment on Black intragroup politics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 June 2021

Jeron Fenton
Affiliation:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA
LaFleur Stephens-Dougan*
Affiliation:
Department of Politics, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA
*
*Corresponding author. E-mail: lafleurs@princeton.edu
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Abstract

We fielded an experiment on a sample of approximately 400 Black state legislators to test whether they would be more responsive to an email that mentioned the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) relative to an email that mentioned Black Lives Matter (BLM). The experiment tested Cohen's theory of secondary marginalization (1999), whereby relatively advantaged members of a marginalized group regulate the behavior, attitudes, and access to resources of less advantaged members of the group. We expected that Black legislators would be less responsive to an email that referenced BLM, an organization that is associated with more marginalized members of the Black community. Contrary to our hypothesis, Black legislators were as responsive to emails referencing inspiration from BLM as they were to emails referencing inspiration from the NAACP. Thus, we do not find any evidence of intragroup discrimination by Black state legislators. To our knowledge, this is the first field experiment to test Cohen's theory of secondary marginalization.1

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Race, Ethnicity, and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association

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Footnotes

1

This study received approval from the Princeton University Institutional Review Board in 2017.

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