Some White Folks: The Interracial Politics of Sympathy, Suffering, and Solidarity (Chicago Studies in American Politics) (Paperback)

Some White Folks: The Interracial Politics of Sympathy, Suffering, and Solidarity (Chicago Studies in American Politics) By Jennifer Chudy Cover Image
Unavailable at this time.


A pioneering exploration of the unexamined roots and effect of racial sympathy within American politics.

There is racial inequality in America, and some people are distressed over it while others are not. This is a book about white people who feel that distress. For decades, political scientists have studied the effects of white racial prejudice, but Jennifer Chudy shows that white racial sympathy for Black Americans’ suffering is also a potent force in modern American politics. Grounded in the history of Black-white relations in America, racial sympathy is unique. It is not equivalent to a low level of racial prejudice or sympathy for other marginalized groups. Some White Folks reveals how racial sympathy shapes a significant number of white Americans’ opinions on policy areas ranging from the social welfare state to the criminal justice system. Under certain circumstances, it can also spur action—although effects on political behavior are weaker and less consistent, for reasons Chudy examines.

Drawing on diverse quantitative and qualitative evidence and integrating insights from multiple disciplines, Chudy explores the origins, importance, and complexity of racial sympathy, as well as the practical implications for political and movement leaders. A companion to the rich literature on prejudice, Some White Folks demonstrates the multifaceted role of race in American politics and public opinion.

About the Author

Jennifer Chudy is assistant professor of political science at Wellesley College. Her research has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Vox, The Nation, Mother Jones, Salon, NPR's Code Switch, and FiveThirtyEight.

Praise For…

“Some White Folks embarks on a necessary exploration of the intricate landscape of white Americans' racial attitudes. Chudy presents a compelling portrait of the often-overlooked dimension of racial sympathy, offering valuable insights into its origins, effects, and potential for political change. In a time marked by pressing social inequalities, Some White Folks emerges as a much-needed tool to better detect and accurately track when, why, and how distress over the inequity Black folks endure may arise among White Americans.”
— Candis Watts Smith | author of "Racial Stasis: The Millennial Generation and the Stagnation of Racial Attitudes in American Politics"

“An important contribution to the voluminous literature on white Americans’ racial attitudes, which until recently had little to say about anti-racism. Some White Folks demonstrates that non-prejudice is not merely the absence of prejudice. Many white Americans abhor racial discrimination and expect government to address it. When events or movements put racial justice on the nation’s agenda, these Americans are willing to take action to bring positive change. A hopeful conclusion, rooted in a compelling empirical analysis.”
— Tali Mendelberg | Princeton University

Product Details
ISBN: 9780226834436
ISBN-10: 0226834433
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: July 31st, 2024
Pages: 288
Language: English
Series: Chicago Studies in American Politics