by Darren W. Davis and David C. Wilson
University of Chicago Press, 2022
Cloth: 978-0-226-81467-4 | Paper: 978-0-226-81484-1 | eISBN: 978-0-226-81470-4
Library of Congress Classification E185.615.D3857 2022
Dewey Decimal Classification 305.800973

A thought-provoking look at how racial resentment, rather than racial prejudice alone, motivate a growing resistance among whites to improve the circumstances faced by racial minorities.

In Racial Resentment in the Political Mind, Darren W. Davis and David C. Wilson challenge the commonly held notion that all racial negativity, disagreements, and objections to policies that seek to help racial minorities stem from racial prejudice. They argue that racial resentment arises from just-world beliefs and appraisals of deservingness that help explain the persistence of racial inequality in America in ways more consequential than racism or racial prejudice alone. 

The culprits, as many White people see it, are undeserving people of color, who are perceived to benefit unfairly from, and take advantage of, resources that come at Whites’ expense—a worldview in which any attempt at modest change is seen as a challenge to the status quo and privilege. Yet, as Davis and Wilson reveal, many Whites have become racially resentful due to their perceptions that African Americans skirt the “rules of the game” and violate traditional values by taking advantage of unearned resources. Resulting attempts at racial progress lead Whites to respond in ways that retain their social advantage—opposing ameliorative policies, minority candidates, and other advancement on racial progress. Because racial resentment is rooted in beliefs about justice, fairness, and deservingness, ordinary citizens, who may not harbor racist motivations, may wind up in the same political position as racists, but for different reasons.