By Shayla C. Nunnally

About Shayla C. Nunnally

Shayla C. Nunnally is Associate Professor of Political Science and Africana Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut. She is the author of Trust in Black America: Race, Discrimination, and Politics(NYU Press, 2012).

Linked Fate

Historically, Black racial-­group members experienced racial discrimination, regardless of their social status or class. Thus, their historical political orientations centered on advancing the entire racial group, often irrespective of subgroups’ (e.g., class, gender, sexuality) political preferences and self-­interest (McAdam 1982; K. Tate 1993; and Dawson 1994). Whether racial-­group interests or class interests structure Black Americans’ contemporary political preferences is a critical debate in the political science literature. As this debate has been premised on mostly a “racial” identity, political scientists have expanded this research query to question whether Black Americans’ racial interests (as racial-­group members) supersede their class interests (as individuals) and whether other intersecting identities such as gender, sexuality, and ethnicity also play a role in Blacks’ political consciousness, policy preferences, and political behavior.

The political scientists Katherine Tate (1993) and Michael Dawson (1994) offer seminal studies on Black Americans’ political behavior in the late twentieth century. They document …

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