Connect with us

Reel News

Will Kamala Harris’s multiracial background help or hurt in attracting voters?


American Politics

Will Kamala Harris’s multiracial background help or hurt in attracting voters?

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that he had selected Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) as his running mate. Because Harris is the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, in the coming months, people may refer to her as Black, Jamaican, Asian or South Asian American, Indian, biracial, multiracial or some…

Will Kamala Harris’s multiracial background help or hurt in attracting voters?

Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that he had selected Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) as his running mate. Since Harris is the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, in the coming months, people might refer to her as Black, Jamaican, Asian or South Asian American, Indian, biracial, multiracial or some mix of these.

With the United States going through group modification, Harris’s many possible identifications are barely uncommon. An increasing number of people recognize with 2 or more races on the U.S. Census. As lots of as 10 percent of newborns may be multiracial, according to the census. When parentage and grand-parentage are counted, about as much as 7 percent of the basic population may be considered multiracial, too. Americans who recognize as multiracial have a mean age of about 20, recommending that we will probably be seeing more Democratic multiracial candidates running for office in the future. Their backgrounds might be consequential for their politics.

In her narrative, Harris explains herself as having actually been raised as a Black lady. My research study discovers that multiracial prospects are frequently tasked with handling how others view their backgrounds and identities.

What are you?

The United States has actually had people and politicians with multiracial origins for several years. But U.S. society has actually ended up being more happy to accept political prospects who display their multiracial backgrounds, as Barack Obama notably did.

Although numerous political scientists have actually performed research on how citizens respond to prospects appointed to a single racial category, we understand relatively little about how citizens evaluate prospects assigned to several categories. Multiracial individuals are often asked: What are you? In performing my own research through interviews with state legislators, I found out that some multiracial politicians also deal with concerns about their backgrounds and identities.

Does this overflow to electoral politics?

In 2016, I conducted a conjoint study experiment on 786 Asian, Black, Hispanic and White American participants hired in a benefit sample from the research study company Lucid. A conjoint study experiment is a strategy that allows researchers to assess which factors matter more than others. Each individual read a hypothetical situation about 10 pairs of two candidates running for Congress. Each prospect was randomly designated numerous attributes in the categories of race, gender, political experience, partisanship, ideology and whether they were born in the United States. Candidates could be Asian, Black, Hispanic, White or a mix of two of those classifications. Participants were asked to examine each pair of prospects and pick whom they would vote for. The goal was to figure out how voters use race to choose whom they’ll elect, even when they have other details about the prospect.

I found that, usually, all individuals had to do with 4 portion points less likely to choose a multiracial candidate from their own racial group than for a single-race candidate from their racial group. This recommends that compared with candidates designated to a single classification, the task to two classifications may cost multiracial prospects votes from their own racial groups.

By contrast, voters chosen single-race prospects from their own group by about 15 portion points over a single-race racial outsider. They chose multiracial candidates from their own group by about 11 percentage points– and multiracial prospects from outside their group by about three percentage points. This recommends that when a single-race prospect from a voter’s own racial group is not available, multiracial prospects can amass assistance from their own group and from other groups.

What discusses these findings?

Without details about a prospect’s identity, actions on behalf of the group, or group connections, voters might withhold support from multiracial candidates due to the fact that coming from 2 racial classifications does not clearly indicate just how much that candidate supports the group. Multiracial prospects are “ just half” As a result, voters might be more most likely to choose a single-race candidate from their group. At the same time, for outsiders, multiracial people are typically fetishized as ” unique” and ” lovely.” Citizens may view multiracial candidates with whom they do not share a race as remarkable representatives of their different racial parts– a fascinating novelty.

What does this mean for Kamala Harris?

These findings recommend that Harris’s background might enable her to build coalitions between Black and Asian American citizens, as well as with non-Black and non-Asian American citizens. This might be specifically true for Harris as a multiracial female, if commentary becomes extremely concentrated on how her looks stem from her multiracial background. While this research did not consider appearance, Harris may benefit from being a lighter-skinned Black woman with straight hair To be sure, lots of observers have raised issues about Harris’s record as a district attorney, which may be particularly bothering for Black citizens. A candidate’s identity is not the only thing that attracts or drives away voters. Neither Black nor Asian American citizens are monolithic.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Obviously, this experiment did not model a governmental election that consisted of a multiracial vice-presidential candidate. Nor was this a nationally representative sample, which offers more generalizable conclusions. November’s election provides Americans only 4 options: casting a ballot for President Trump and Vice President Pence, for Biden and Harris, for a prospect who will not win or for no one at all. That’s quite different from any abstract experiment.

Nevertheless, in a time when many are requiring neighborhoods of color to be more fully represented in all parts of American life, this research recommends that discussions about race and representation might be more worthwhile when they take into account the real variety of Americans’ racial backgrounds.

Harris’s candidateship is an opportunity to do simply that.

Danielle Casarez Lemi( @D_Lemi) is a Tower Center Fellow at the John G. Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University who studies race and representation in American politics.

Subscribe to Reel News

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe

Top News

To Top