How Wide is the Arc of Racial Solidarity? People of Color and Middle Easterners and North Africans

Published date01 March 2023
Date01 March 2023
Subject MatterArticles
Political Research Quarterly
2023, Vol. 76(1) 239252
© The Author(s) 2022
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/10659129221076143
How Wide is the Arc of Racial Solidarity?
People of Color and Middle Easterners and
North Africans
Kaumron Eidgahy
and Efr´
en O. P´
Emerging work suggests that Blacks, Asians, and Latinos sometimes share a strong sense of solidarity as people of color
(PoC), which unif‌ies their political opinions on issues that strongly implicate some of these racial groups (e.g., Black Lives
Matter). Yet much uncertainty remains about whether other non-White groups, beyond these traditional three , are
compelled to engage in politics as PoC via this same mechanism. We investigate this with two studies focused on Middle
Eastern and North African (MENA) individuals: a minoritized group with deep U.S. roots, but sparse theoretical and
empirical attention in political science. Study 1 draws on in-depth interviews with MENA adults (N=20), who suggest that,
insofar as they sense solidarity with other people of color, it is because they feel racially marginalized as foreigners. Study 2
builds on this insight with a pre-registered experiment on MENA adults (N=514), which randomly assigned them to read
an article about Latinos, who are also marginalized as foreign (vs. control article). We f‌ind that exposure to treatment
reliably heightens MENAsexpression of solidarity with other PoC, which then signif‌icantly boosts support for f‌lexible
policies toward undocumented immigrants (which implicate Latinos, but not MENAs) and reduces belief in nega tive
stereotypes of Latinos.
people of color, Middle Easterners and North Africans, in-depth interviews, survey experi ments, pre-registration
The 2020 U.S. Census has made one thing crystal clear:
America is signif‌icantly more racially diverse than it was
10 years earlier.
Although much media attention has
focused on the observed decline of non-Hispanic Whites,
there has been an even more remarkable increase in the
proportion of people of color (PoC), with African
Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos now repre-
senting 37% of the United States population (Bahrampour
and Mellnik 2021). Many White individuals believe this
increase in PoC augurs greater political power for mi-
noritized groups at the expense of Whites (Knowles,
Tropp, and Mogami 2021;Jardina 2019). Yet prior
work suggests that political unity among people of color is
diff‌icult to harness toward civic ends because Blacks,
Asians, and Latinos hail from distinct groups who arrived to
the U.S. under different conditions; are treated in assorted
ways by U.S. society; and, have varied political priorities
(e.g., Carter 2019;Benjamin 2017;Wilkinson 2015;Mora
2014;Masuoka and Junn 2013;Kim 2003;Tuan 1998).
One mechanism that seems to achieve greater political
unity among PoC is intraminority solidarity: a sharpened
sense of bond and commitment to an ingroup in an im-
mediate situation, which is associated with approaching the
ingroup and group-based activity(Leach et al. 2008:147).
Here, a greater sense of camaraderie between Asians,
Blacks, and Latinos is triggered when these groups recog-
nize some of the similar ways they are marginalized, such as
the stereotyping of Asians and Latinos as foreigners (Zou
and Cheryan 2017;Cortland et al. 2017 Craig and Richeson
2012). In light of increased solidarity, PoC become more
supportive of policies that implicate other minoritized groups
beyond their own (P´
erez 2021a,2021b;P´
erez et al. 2021).
While this evidence highlights the viability of this in-
tergroup mechanism, less certain is whether the observed
Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA, USA
Political Science and Psychology, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Corresponding Author:
en O. P´
erez, Political Science, UCLA, 4289 Bunche Hall, Los Angeles,
CA 90095, USA.

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