President Donald Trump’s supporters tend to get angry when they’re accused of racism. To many liberals, their outrage is laughable: After all, they support a leader whose racist impulses are increasingly difficult to deny.
In fact, though, there’s an excellent chance that many of those supporters aren’t technically racist, in that they don’t reflexively hate minorities or consider them inherently inferior. Still, for many of these voters, being white is a central component of their personal identity, and they are invested in maintaining their race’s status at the top of the national hierarchy.
For some on the left, this is a distinction without a difference. But Duke University political scientist Ashley Jardina argues that this protect-our-own mindset is associated with a different set of assumptions and behaviors than pure prejudice.
“Dislike for people who aren’t like you, and the desire to protect your own group’s dominant status, are both problematic,” says the author of the new book White Identity Politics. “They just have different psychological underpinnings.”….