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To Love or Hate Thy Neighbor: The Role of Authoritarianism and Traditionalism in Explaining the Link Between Fundamentalism and Racial Prejudice

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Abstract

Fundamentalism is consistently related to racial prejudice (Hall, Matz, & Wood, 2010), yet the mechanisms for this relationship are unclear. We identify two core values of fundamentalism, authoritarianism and traditionalism, that independently contribute to the fundamentalism-racial prejudice relationship. We also contextualize the fundamentalism-racial prejudice relationship by suggesting that fundamentalists may show prejudice based on conceptions of African Americans as violating values but show tolerance when prejudice is less justifiable. These ideas are tested and confirmed using three data sets from the American National Election Studies. Across all three samples, fundamentalism is related to increases in symbolic racism but decreases in negative affect towards African Americans, and these relationships are mediated by both authoritarianism and traditionalism.

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