Determinants of Ethnocentric Attitudes in the United States

Saheli Datta, Syracuse University

The multiculturalism debate has spawned questions concerning the determinants of ethnocentric attitudes in the United States. What characteristics are most likely to be associated with ethnocentrism? This paper examines the relationship between ethnocentrism and one’s political ideology, strength of religious affiliation, social conservatism as well as certain demographic characteristics such as age, sex, race and education. Political views are found to have a significant impact on attitudes toward ethnic minorities; people with more conservative political views are found to be more likely to have ethnocentric attitudes. The addition of demographic variables as well as variables measuring subjective attitudes improves the overall predictability of attitudes toward ethnic minorities. Age and social conservatism, in particular, are found to be strongly correlated with ethnocentric attitudes.

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Presented in Session 24: Racial Discrimination