Author ORCID Identifier
Thomas Jamieson https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2716-5476
Politics, Groups, and Identities
This paper examines how race affects attitudes towards conflict beyond the water’s edge. While prior literature largely assumes that all casualties affect voters’ attitudes similarly, we argue that attitudes toward casualties are importantly shaped by racial-group identities. More specifically, we argue that domestic responses to international events – namely American casualties in military conflict – are conditioned by individuals’ attitudes and biases toward the race of fallen soldiers. Using a novel survey experiment, we find that while people become more supportive of conflict when informed of any soldier’s death, support for escalating conflict only increases when the fallen soldiers have Pakistani and African American names. Our results suggest that people are more resistant to conflict when casualties of the war effort are perceived as belonging to their racial in-group, and less averse to those perceived as belonging to their racial out-group. This research is theoretically significant as it speaks to the fields of American politics; public opinion; international relations; and race, ethnicity, and politics. Further, this study demonstrates the need for scholars of public opinion and foreign policy to pay greater attention to race in future research, and highlights the importance of taking heterogeneity of racial-group identities seriously in social science.
Hua, W. & Jamieson, T. (2022, February 11). Whose lives matter? Race, public opinion, and military conflict. Politics, Groups, and Identities. https://doi.org/10.1080/21565503.2022.2035237
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Available for download on Friday, August 11, 2023