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Tue Apr 5, 2016, 08:32 AM

 

White resentment is fueling opposition to gun control, researchers say

https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/wonk/wp/2016/04/04/white-resentment-is-fueling-opposition-to-gun-control-researchers-say/

White resentment is fueling opposition to gun control, researchers say



Racial prejudice could play a significant role in white Americans' opposition to gun control, according to new research from political scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

In their paper, published in the journal Political Behavior in November, Alexandra Filindra and Noah J. Kaplan found that whites were significantly less likely to support gun control measures when they had recently looked at pictures of black people, than when they had looked at pictures of white people. The study, which surveyed 1,000 white respondents, also found that the higher they scored on a common measure of racial prejudice, the stronger negative effect the photos of black people had on the respondents' support for gun control.


Particularly with respect to the modern gun-rights movement that really took off in the '80s and '90s, the language "creates this distinction between 'law-abiding citizens' and 'criminals,'" Filindra says. She points to the type of language that's frequently used by gun rights groups who warn of ever-present threats by "predatory criminals" and a murkily-defined "they" who want to "take your guns away."

"Juxtapositions of 'law abiding citizens' and 'criminals' [are] evocative of racialized themes as crime has long been associated with blacks in the white mind," Filindra and Kaplan write.

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