Critical race theory and COVID-19 vaccination: An experimental test of interest convergence

Sophie Trawalter*, James N. Druckman, Kyshia Henderson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Critical Race Theory (CRT) offers crucial insights into the persistence of racism. The theory also identifies the conditions under which White Americans will support policies aimed at redressing racial inequities. According to the tenet of interest convergence, White Americans will support policies aimed at redressing racial inequities when it serves their interests to do so; that is, when their interests converge with those of Black people. Here, we provide an experimental test of interest convergence in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Consistent with interest convergence, we find that White support for race-conscious policies aimed at redressing COVID-19 inequities increased when policies were framed as benefiting White people (i.e., a benefits frame). White support decreased when policies were framed as only benefiting Black people and was unmoved by a frame that accentuated systemic racism. Further, the impact of the benefit frame was not moderated by racial attitudes or political ideology. The results offer a sobering reminder that racial progress does not necessarily reflect shifts in White people's prejudice and consciousness, but rather shifts in their interests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Social Issues
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences

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