Threatened by Diversity

October 24, 2016

A new study by UCSB social psychologist Brenda Major suggests the reason many white Americans support Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) — In this election year of unprecedented acrimony, one of the most polarizing issues of all is rooted in what’s typically considered a national strength: diversity.

But as it turns out, according to UC Santa Barbara psychologist Brenda Major, not all Americans value the country’s multicultural ethos.

“Many whites are feeling very threatened by the increasing ethnic and racial diversification of America,” explained Major, a professor in UCSB’s Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences who specializes in social identity. “Donald Trump understands that, feels their same angst and plays to it. The threat of diversity among white Americans who highly identify with their ethnicity is playing a key role in shaping this year’s presidential contest.”

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