Political Behavior

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 365–384 | Cite as

Are symbolic racism and traditional prejudice part of a contemporary authoritarian attitude syndrome?

  • David Raden


This research used the General Social Survey for 1988 to investigate the extent to which traditional racial prejudice and symbolic racism had syndromic qualities among white Americans. The correlations between the measures of traditional prejudice and a wide variety of authoritarianism-related social attitudes were often moderately high. However, the associations of the measure of symbolic racism with these attitudes typically were similar. Additionally, the loadings of both types of prejudice on a general attitudinal authoritarianism factor were moderately high. Moreover, the measures of traditional prejudice and symbolic racism had substantial correlations with one another. Thus there was little in the findings to support the characterization by Sears and his associates of symbolic racism as a distinctive racial disposition.


Social Attitude General Social Survey Racial Prejudice Political Psychology Substantial Correlation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adorno, Theodore W., Else Frenkel-Brunswik, Daniel J. Levinson and R. Nevitt Sanford (1950).The Authoritarian Personality. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  2. Bobo, Lawrence (1983). “White's Opposition to Busing: Symbolic Racism or Realistic Group Conflict.”Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 45: 1196–1210.Google Scholar
  3. Brigham, John C., John J. Woodmansee, and Stuart W. Cook (1976). “Dimensions of Verbal Racial Attitudes: Interracial Marriage and Approaches to Racial Equality.”Journal of Social Issues 32(2): 9–21.Google Scholar
  4. Cattel, Raymond B. (1966). “The Scree Test for the Number of Factors,”Multivariate Behavioral Research 1: 245–276.Google Scholar
  5. Comrey, Andrew L., and James A. Newmeyer (1965). “Measurement of Radicalism-Conservatism.”Journal of Social Psychology 67: 357–369.Google Scholar
  6. Cronbach, Lee J., and Paul Meehl (1955). “Construct Validity in Psychological Tests.”Psychological Bulletin 52: 281–302.Google Scholar
  7. Davis, James A., and Tom W. Smith (1988).General Social Surveys Cumulative Codebook. Chicago: National Opinion Research Center.Google Scholar
  8. Eysenck, Hans J. (1954).The Psychology of Politics. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  9. Harman, Harry H. (1976).Modern Factor Analysis, 3rd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  10. Jacobson, Cardell K. (1985). “Resistance to affirmative Action: Self-Interest or Racism?”Journal Conflict Resolution 29: 306–329.Google Scholar
  11. Kelley, Jonathan (1974). “Politics of School Busing.”Public Opinion Quarterly 38: 23–39.Google Scholar
  12. Kerlinger, Fred N. (1972). “The Structure and Content of Social Attitude Referents: A Preliminary Study.”Educational and Psychological Measurement 32: 613–630.Google Scholar
  13. Kinder, Donald R. (1986). “The Continuing American Dilemma: White Resistance to Racial Change 40 Years After Myrdal.”Journal of Social Issues 42(2): 151–171.Google Scholar
  14. Levinson, Donald J. and Phyllis E. Huffman (1955). “Traditional Family Ideology and Its Relations to Personality.”Journal of Personality 23: 251–278.Google Scholar
  15. McClendon, McKee J. (1985). “Racism, Rational Choice and White Opposition to Racial Change: A Case Study of Busing.”Public Opinion Quarterly 49: 214–233.Google Scholar
  16. McConahay, John B. (1986). “Modern Racism, Ambivalence, and the Modern Racism Scale.” In John F. Dovidio and Samuel L. Gaertner (eds.),Prejudice, Discrimination, and Racism, pp. 91–125. Orlando, FL: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  17. McNemar, Quinn (1962).Psychological Statistics, 3rd ed. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  18. Pettigrew, Thomas F. (1985). “New Black-White Patterns: How Best to Conceptualize Them?” In Ralph H. Turner and James F. Short (eds.),Annual Review of Sociology, pp. 329–346. Palo Alto, CA: Annual Reviews.Google Scholar
  19. Raden, David (1989). “Interrelationships Between Prejudice and Other Social Attitudes in the General Social Survey.”Sociological Focus 22: 53–67.Google Scholar
  20. Ray, John J. (1973). “Conservatism, Authoritarianism, and Related Variables: A Review and Empirical Study.” In G. D. Wilson (ed.),The Psychology of Conservatism, pp. 17–35. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  21. Rokeach, Milton (1960).The Open and Closed Mind. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  22. Sears, David O. (1988). “Symbolic Racism.” In Phyllis A. Katz and Dalmas A. Taylor (eds.),Eliminating Racism, pp. 53–84. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  23. Shils, Edward A. (1954). “Authoritarianism: Right and Left.” In Richard Christie and Marie Jahoda (eds.),Studies in the Scope and Method of the Authoritarian Personality, pp. 24–49. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.Google Scholar
  24. Sniderman, Paul M., and Philip E. Tetlock (1986). “Symbolic Racism: Problems of Motive Attribution in Political Analysis.”Journal of Social Issues 42(2): 129–150.Google Scholar
  25. Thurstone, Leon L. (1934). “The Vectors of the Mind.”Psychological Review 41: 1–32.Google Scholar
  26. Thurstone, Leon L. (1947).Multiple-Factor Analysis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  27. Wilson, Glenn D. (1973a). “The Factor Structure of the C Scale.” In G. D. Wilson (ed.),The Psychology of Conservatism, pp. 71–92. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  28. Wilson, Glenn D. (1973b). “A Dynamic Theory of Conservatism.” In G. D. Wilson (ed.),The Psychology of Conservatism, pp. 257–266. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  29. Woodmansee, John J., and Stuart W. Cook (1967). “Dimensions of Verbal Racial Attitudes: Their Identification and Measurement.”Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 7: 240–250.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Raden
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Behavioral SciencesPurdue University CalumetHammond

Personalised recommendations