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Sniderman et al. seek to explore the notion of a "new racism" which is described as covert and symbolic racism. Covert and symbolic racism are based on traditional values that a race may violate rather than racism due to any physical differences (423-424). The authors point out that the problem with testing this "new racism" is that there may be necessary conditions, such as conservative values, that make it more difficult to isolate the sufficient conditions. In order to make this separation clear, surveys were designed to ask questions relating to both racism and conservative values (425). This survey was only conducted in California, but it was compared with a similar survey taken nationwide (426).


To detect covert racisim the survey described situations that went against traditional values, such as nuclear families, as well as randomly selected sex and race (428). The survey results find that conservatives do not discriminate based on traditional values which contradicts the ideas of a "new racism." It is found also revealed that conservatives are most likely to favor government support for dependable workers who are black even over dependable workers who are white (433).


When the survey asked about government involvement in equal opportunity assurance, conservatives were found to favor more intervention for women than for blacks. This was also found to be the case with liberal respondents (436).The authors explain this to be a variance in education rather than race or sex (437).

The authors caution that this study may not be able to capture racial opinions when personal contact is likely. They also caution that the results may be contested because the respondents were told whether or not an employee was dependable, but this does not capture real life scenarios where this information is not guaranteed. Despite some of these critiques, the authors believe that the methodology of this experiment did allow for acceptable causal inferences and the use of computer interviewing technology further enhances this study (443-444).

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