Advertisement

Race, Ethnicity, the Political Incorporation of Black Immigrants: an Examination of Evidence from Presidential Elections Won by Barack Obama

  • Kevin J.A. ThomasEmail author
  • Rebbeca Tesfai
Article
  • 121 Downloads

Abstract

This study uses data from the Voter Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS) to examine the implications of the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections for the political incorporation of Black immigrants. Our results show that these elections were associated with larger increases in turnout among Black immigrants compared to Asian, Hispanic, and White immigrants. In the first and third-plus generations, we find a reversal in the Black-White disparity in voting patterns between the 2004 presidential election won by George Bush and the subsequent elections won by Barack Obama. Our analysis further provides a nuanced picture of the historical overall increases in Black turnout observed during the election of Barack Obama. In other words, we show that these increases were mostly driven by higher turnout among third-plus generation, US-born Blacks and first-generation African immigrants. While increases in turnout were observed among second-generation Africans and first and second-generation immigrants from the Caribbean, our results indicate that they were not statistically significant. Overall, our findings imply that the election of America’s first Black president was associated with notable increases in political participation among Black immigrants, but that these increases varied across Black immigrant groups.

Keywords

Immigrants Race Assimilation Voting Black Africa 

References

  1. Anderson, M. (2015). A rising share of the US Black population is foreign born; 9 percent are immigrants; and while most are from the Caribbean, Africans drive recent growth. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center, http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/04/09/a-rising-share-of-the-us-black-populationis-foreign-born.
  2. Andrews, K. T. (1997). The impacts of social movements on the political process: the civil rights movement and Black electoral politics in Mississippi. American Sociological Review, 62, 800–819.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Austin, S. D. W., Middleton, R. T., & Yon, R. (2011). The effect of racial group consciousness on the political participation of African Americans and Black ethnics in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Political Research Quarterly, 1065912911404563.Google Scholar
  4. Banducci, S. A., Donovan, T., & Karp, J. A. (2004). Minority representation, empowerment, and participation. Journal of Politics, 66(2), 534–556.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bass, L. E., & Casper, L. M. (2001a). Differences in registering and voting between native-born and naturalized Americans. Population Research and Policy Review, 20(6), 483–511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bass, L. E., & Casper, L. M. (2001b). Impacting the political landscape: who registers and votes among naturalized Americans? Political Behavior, 23(2), 103–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bhatti, Y., Hansen, K. M., & Wass, H. (2012). The relationship between age and turnout: a roller-coaster ride. Electoral Studies, 31(3), 588–593.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Blakely, T. A., Kennedy, B. P., & Kawachi, I. (2001). Socioeconomic inequality in voting participation and self-rated health. American Journal of Public Health, 91(1), 99–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bledsoe, T., Welch, S., Sigelman, L., & Combs, M. (1995). Residential context and racial solidarity among African Americans. American Journal of Political Science, 39(2), 434–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bloemraad, I. (2006a). Becoming a citizen: incorporating immigrants and refugees in the United States and Canada. Univ of California Press.Google Scholar
  11. Bloemraad, I. (2006b). Becoming a citizen in the United States and Canada: structured mobilization and immigrant political incorporation. Social Forces, 85(2), 667–695.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Brians, C. L., & Grofman, B. (2001). Election day registration's effect on US voter turnout. Social Science Quarterly, 82(1), 170–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bueker, C. S. (2005). Political incorporation among immigrants from ten areas of origin: the persistence of source country effects. International Migration Review, 39(1), 103–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Calhoun-Brown, A. (1996). African American churches and political mobilization: The psychological impact of organizational resources. The Journal of Politics, 58(04), 935–953.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Capers, K. J., & Smith, C. W. (2016). Linked fate at the intersection of race, gender, and ethnicity. Distinct identities: minority women in US politics, 29.Google Scholar
  16. Chong, D., & Rogers, R. (2005). Racial solidarity and political participation. Political Behavior, 27(4), 347–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Crissey, S. and T. File (2012) Voting behavior of naturalized citizens: 1996–2010. Washington, DC, U.S. Census Bureau.Google Scholar
  18. Dawson, M. C. (1995). Behind the mule: race and class in African-American politics. Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  19. De Graauw, E. (2008). Nonprofit organizations: Agents of immigrant political incorporation in urban America. Civic hopes and political realities: immigrants, community organizations, and political engagement, 323–50.Google Scholar
  20. DeSipio, L. (2011). Immigrant incorporation in an era of weak civic institutions immigrant civic and political participation in the United States. American Behavioral Scientist, 55(9), 1189–1213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Freeman, L. (2002). Does spatial assimilation work for black immigrants in the US? Urban Studies, 39(11), 1983–2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. File, T. (2013). The diversifying electorate—voting rates by race and Hispanic origin in 2012 (and other recent elections) detailed tables. Current population survey repots. Washington, DC, U.S. Census Bureau.Google Scholar
  23. File, T. and S. Crissey (2012). Voting and registration in the election of November 2008. Current population reports. Washington, DC, U.S. Census Bureau.Google Scholar
  24. Flippen, A. (2014) Black turnout in 1964, and beyond. New York Times, October 16, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/17/upshot/black-turnout-in-1964-and-beyond.html?_r=0
  25. Foner, N. (2007). Comparative perspectives on immigrants in New York—across time and space. Paper presented at the Weatherhead Center, Harvard University. http://dev.wcfia.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/NFoner_comparative.PDF
  26. Gay, C. (2001). The effect of minority districts and minority representation on political participation in California. San Francisco, CA: Public Policy Institute of California.Google Scholar
  27. Gilliam, F. D., & Kaufmann, K. M. (1998). Is there an empowerment life cycle? Long-term black empowerment and its influence on voter participation. Urban Affairs Review, 33(6), 741–766.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Goldsmith, M. M., & Holzner, C. A. (2015). Foreign-born voting behavior in local elections evidence from new immigrant destinations. American Politics Research, 43(1), 27–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Greer, C. M. (2013). Black ethnics: race, immigration, and the pursuit of the American dream. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Hamilton, T. G. (2014). Selection, language heritage, and the earnings trajectories of black immigrants in the United States. Demography, 51(3), 975–1002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jang, S. J. (2009). Get out on behalf of your group: electoral participation of Latinos and Asian Americans. Political Behavior, 31(4), 511–535.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Johnson, T. A., Dowe, P. K. F., & Fauntroy, M. K. (2011). One America? President Obama’s non-racial state. Race, Gender & Class, 135–149.Google Scholar
  33. Jones-Correa, M. (2001). Institutional and contextual factors in immigrant naturalization and voting. Citizenship Studies, 5(1), 41–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kasinitz, P. (1992). Caribbean New York: Black immigrants and the politics of race. Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Kent, M. M. (2007). Immigration and America’s black population (Vol. 62, No. 4). Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau.Google Scholar
  36. Leal, D. L. (2002). Political participation by Latino non-citizens in the United States. British Journal of Political Science, 32(02), 353–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lopez, M. H. & Taylor, P. (2009). Dissecting the 2008 electorate: most diverse in US history. Pew Hispanic Center.Google Scholar
  38. Logan, J. R., Darrah, J., & Oh, S. (2012). The impact of race and ethnicity, immigration and political context on participation in American electoral politics. Social Forces, 90(3), 993–1022.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Masket, S. E. (2009). Did Obama’s ground game matter? The influence of local field offices during the 2008 presidential election. Public Opinion Quarterly, 73(5), 1023–1039.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Masket, S., Sides, J., & Vavreck, L. (2016). The Ground Game in the 2012 Presidential Election. Political Communication, 33(2), 169–187.Google Scholar
  41. McDonald, M. P. (2008). The return of the voter: voter turnout in the 2008 presidential election. In The Forum (Vol. 6, No. 4).Google Scholar
  42. NCSL (2016a) Voter identification requirements, April 11, 2016. http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/voter-id.aspx
  43. NCSL (2016b) Absentee and early voting, March 24, 2016. http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/absentee-and-early-voting.aspx
  44. Perez, A. D., & Hirschman, C. (2009). The changing racial and ethnic composition of the US population: emerging American identities. Population and Development Review, 35(1), 1–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Però, D., & Solomos, J. (2010). Introduction: migrant politics and mobilization: exclusion, engagements, incorporation. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 33(1), 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Philpot, T. S., Shaw, D. R., & McGowen, E. B. (2009). Winning the race Black voter turnout in the 2008 presidential election. Public Opinion Quarterly, 73(5), 995–1022.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Presser, S., Traugott, M. W., Traugott, S. (1990). “Vote ‘Over’ Reporting in Surveys: The Records or the Respondents?” Technical Report no. 39. Ann Arbor, MI: National Election Studies.Google Scholar
  48. Ramakrishnan, S. K., & Espenshade, T. J. (2001). Immigrant incorporation and political participation in the United States1. International Migration Review, 35(3), 870–909.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Rogers, R. R. (2004). Race-based coalitions among minority groups Afro-Caribbean immigrants and African-Americans in New York City. Urban Affairs Review, 39(3), 283–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Rogers, R. R. (2006). Afro-Caribbean immigrants and the politics of incorporation: ethnicity, exception, or exit. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Segura, G. M., & Rodrigues, H. A. (2006). Comparative ethnic politics in the United States: beyond black and white. Annu. Rev. Polit. Sci., 9, 375–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Smith, C. W. (2013). Ethnicity and the role of group consciousness: a comparison between African Americans and Black immigrants. Politics, Groups, and Identities, 1(2), 199–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Smith, C. W. (2014). Black mosaic: the politics of Black pan-ethnic diversity. NYU Press.Google Scholar
  54. Smith, L. E., & Walker, L. D. (2012). Belonging, believing, and group behavior: religiosity and voting in American presidential elections. Political Research Quarterly, 1–15.Google Scholar
  55. Suro, R., Fry, R., & Passel, J. S. (2005). Hispanics and the 2004 election: population, electorate and voters (pp. i-26). Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center.Google Scholar
  56. Terriquez, V. (2012). Civic inequalities? Immigrant incorporation and Latina mothers’ participation in their children’s schools. Sociological Perspectives, 55(4), 663–682.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Tesfai, R. (2015). The interaction between race and nativity on the housing market: homeownership and house value of Black immigrants in the United States. International Migration Review, 50(4), 1005–1045.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Treier, S., & Jackman, S. (2008). Democracy as a latent variable. American Journal of Political Science, 52(1), 201–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Yang, K. C., Erives, R. A., & Kang, Y. (2015). The effects of candidate’s ethnic source cue and party affiliation on Hispanic voters’ homophily perceptions and voting intent. Journal of Creative Communications, 10(2), 199–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Vanderleeuw, J., & Utter, G. (1993). Voter roll-off and the electoral context: a test of two theses. Social Science Quarterly, 74(3), 664–673.Google Scholar
  61. Washington, E. (2006). How Black candidates affect voter turnout (No. w11915). National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  62. Waters, M. C., Kasinitz, P., & Asad, A. L. (2014). Immigrants and African Americans. Annual Review of Sociology, 40, 369–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wolfinger, N. H., & Wolfinger, R. E. (2008). Family structure and voter turnout. Social Forces, 86(4), 1513–1528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Zong, J., & Batalova, J. (2016). Frequently requested statistics on immigrants and immigration in the United States. Washington, D.C.: Migration Policy Institute.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations