Black Hope Floats: Racial Emotion Regulation and the Uniquely Motivating Effects of Hope on Black Political Participation


  • Davin L. Phoenix


Drawing upon theories of group based emotion, group based efficacy and appraisal, I propose a model of racial emotion regulation to explain variations in how Black and White Americans respond emotionally and behaviorally to policy opportunity cues. I test the major claims of this model with data from an original experiment and national survey. Findings from the studies indicate that expressions of hope carry a strong and consistent mobilizing effect on the political participation of African Americans, while producing null effects on White participation. I discuss the implications of this model for our understanding of the potential of hope to shape appraisals and perceptions of efficacy among socially marginalized groups, opening up a distinct pathway through which they can be mobilized for political engagement.