Changing Minds, If Not Hearts

Changing Minds, If Not Hearts: Political Remedies for Racial Conflict

James M. Glaser
Timothy J. Ryan
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Changing Minds, If Not Hearts
    Book Description:

    Americans preach egalitarianism, but democracy makes it hard for minorities to win. Changing Minds, If Not Hearts explores political strategies that counteract the impulse of racial majorities to think about racial issues as a zero-sum game, in which a win for one group means a loss for another. James M. Glaser and Timothy J. Ryan argue that, although political processes often inflame racial tensions, the tools of politics also can alleviate conflict. Through randomized experiments conducted in South Carolina, California, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and New Jersey, Glaser and Ryan uncover the racial underpinnings of disputes over affirmative action, public school funding initiatives, Confederate flag displays on government buildings, reparations, and racial profiling. The authors examine whether communities rife with conflict endorse different outcomes when issues are cast in different terms-for example, by calling attention to double standards, evoking alternate conceptions of fairness and justice, or restructuring electoral choices to offer voters greater control. Their studies identify a host of tools that can help overcome opposition to minority interests that are due to racial hostility. Even in communities averse to accommodation, even where antipathy and prejudice linger, minorities can win. With clearly presented data and compelling prose, Changing Minds, If Not Hearts provides a vivid and practical illustration of how academic theory can help resolve conflicts on the ground.

    eISBN: 978-0-8122-0846-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[viii])
  3. CHAPTER 1 Burdens of Our Past
    (pp. 1-29)

    Ten weeks into a primary season that was supposed to last a month, victory must have seemed near, yet far. Barack Obama had outlasted veteran challengers for the Democratic presidential nomination and even held a delegate lead over his remaining opponent, Hillary Clinton. For a freshman senator to stand toe-to-toe with, and even edge out, Clinton’s well-established political machine represented a remarkable feat of political acumen and grit. For Obama to do it signaled the tantalizing possibility that America had sufficiently shed the bonds of a past stained by racial strife so that a black man could win the nomination...

  4. CHAPTER 2 Ballot Architecture and the Building of Schools
    (pp. 30-49)

    Heresthetic, according to William Riker (1986), is the art of strategically structuring voting processes in order to manipulate outcomes. As he writes, “Winners induce by more than rhetorical attractions. Typically they win because they have set up the situation in such a way that other people will want to join them—or will feel forced by circumstances to join them—even without any persuasion at all. And this is what heresthetic is about: structuring the world so you can win” (p. ix).

    It is not difficult to come up with real-world examples of heresthetical maneuvering. When the House of Representatives...

  5. CHAPTER 3 Following Neighbors, If Not Leaders
    (pp. 50-68)

    In 1962, during the centennial of the Civil War, South Carolina’s state legislature passed a bill to raise the Confederate flag atop the state capitol in Columbia. They did not indicate when it should come down. Whether as an act of white defiance during the civil rights movement or a simple oversight, the flag was not removed from the dome at the end of the centennial celebration. As time passed, many whites came to view the capitol flag as a symbol of heritage and ancestral pride in this, the most “southern” of all the southern states (Reed 1972, p. 18)....

  6. CHAPTER 4 Remorse, Retribution, and Restoration
    (pp. 69-94)

    In 1988, the U.S. Congress issued an apology and authorized a $20,000 payment to each American citizen of Japanese ancestry who had been interned in detention camps during World War II. Momentous as this gesture was for those who had been in the camps, it was an extraordinary moment in the country’s history as it was the most direct apology ever issued by the federal government to a domestic minority group and the first time ever an apology from the U.S. government would come with a payment of reparation. President Reagan himself expressed the apology when signing the bill authorizing...

  7. CHAPTER 5 A Panoply of Preferences
    (pp. 95-116)

    As a whole, the legacy of the civil rights movement is ironclad and uncontested. If any part of it remains at stake, it is affirmative action. A triumph of New Deal liberalism to some and “racial engineering of a new and radical sort” to others (Thernstrom and Thernstrom 1997, 172), affirmative action simultaneously represents a noble experiment in government’s ability to bring about social change and a bitter-tasting retreat from, or at least postponement of, Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of a society where people would not be judged by the color of their skin. In few other domains do...

  8. CHAPTER 6 A Spotlight on Race Neutrality
    (pp. 117-137)

    Principles are integral to the debate over racial issues. To bring down Jim Crow and to promote an integrated society, the leaders of the civil rights movement and political liberals argued for race neutrality. One of the iconic moments of the movement is Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, his dream, “deeply rooted in the American dream,” being a day when his children would “not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” So successful was King’s speech in evoking American values, writes historian Taylor Branch (1988, 887), that it...

  9. CHAPTER 7 Changing Minds, If Not Hearts
    (pp. 138-150)

    John Stuart Mill’s essay “On Liberty” calls attention to one of the central mandates of political psychology, understanding the uneven ways that the opinions upon which democratic government relies develop and find expression. We began this book with the concern that, on matters of race, patterns of rhetoric and framing evoke group conflict thinking and, by extension, opposition to policies designed to help blacks and other minorities. They do so not occasionally or sporadically but systematically, putting minorities at a consistent disadvantage. However, we entertained a note of optimism: if patterns of thinking highlight a problem, they may also contain...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 151-158)
    (pp. 159-176)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 177-180)
    (pp. 181-184)