Race, Ethnicity and Politics

Anger, Agency and Action in Black and White: Racial Efficacy, Emotion & Political Behavior

Davin Phoenix University of California, Irvine
Nathan Chan
This paper explores the role of racial group efficacy in shaping the emotions and political behavior of Black and White Americans. Drawing on data from a nationally representative survey and an original survey experiment, we show significant variations in how Black and White people view their political influence as individuals and as members of collective racial groups. We uncover patterns that question whether the linkage between efficacy and anger as demonstrated by extant scholarship is effectively applicable to African Americans. Finally, we show that racial group efficacy is a stronger predictor of political behavior than conventional efficacy measures—particularly for African Americans. We discuss how a focus on racial group efficacy can greatly inform our understanding of racial divergences in political participation.