Racial differences in having and choosing cross-race political discussion partners

Abstract

Since race is a central factor in politics in the U.S. – being correlated with political perceptions and viewpoints – and talk across racial boundaries is uncommon, the study of political talk across racial lines requires considerably more attention in the political communication literature on exposure to political difference. This study seeks to contrast availability with preference mechanisms in having cross-race political discussion partners. We employ a diverse sample of U.S. adults with a Black oversample. We compare having a cross-race discussion partner in the existing network with willingness and preference for a cross-race discussant in a purported political discussion as part of a study. We find Blacks actually have more cross-race political discussants than Whites in reality, but Whites express a greater willingness and preference for having cross-race political discussants. These findings are situated within the political communication, sociology, and social psychology literatures, and are extended to other national contexts.

Date
Event
69th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association
Location
Washington, D.C.