World War II and American Racial Politics: Public Opinion, the Presidency, and Civil Rights Advocacy. 2019. Cambridge University Press. Amazon link. Introductory chapter excerpt.

Description: World War II played an important role in the trajectory of race and American political development, but the War’s effects were much more complex than many assume. Steven White offers an extensive analysis of rarely utilized survey data and archival evidence to assess white racial attitudes and the executive branch response to civil rights advocacy. He finds that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the white mass public’s racial policy attitudes largely did not liberalize during the war against Nazi Germany. In this context, advocates turned their attention to the possibility of unilateral action by the president, emphasizing a wartime civil rights agenda focused on discrimination in the defense industry and segregation in the military. This book offers a reinterpretation of this critical period in American political development, as well as implications for the theoretical relationship between war and the inclusion of marginalized groups in democratic societies.


Slavery, Reconstruction, and Bureaucratic Capacity in the American South” (with Pavithra Suryanarayan). 2021. American Political Science Review 115(2). 568-584.

Race, Religion, and Obama in Appalachia.” 2019. Social Science Quarterly 100(1). 38-59.

Civil Rights, World War II, and U.S. Public Opinion.” 2016. Studies in American Political Development 30(1). 38-61.

The Heterogeneity of Southern White Distinctiveness.” 2014. American Politics Research 42(4). 551-578.

In Progress

The Political Influence of the Police. Book project.

Historical Information and Beliefs About Racial Inequality” (with Albert Fang). Working paper.

“State Parties, the Democratic National Committee, and Civil Rights Liberalism.” Working paper

Other Writing

Frances Perkins and the Limits of New Deal Racial Liberalism.” 2020. Clio 29(1). 11-12.

Is Racial Equality Unconstitutional? by Mark Golub (review).” 2019. Journal of Southern History 85(4). 936-937.

Race and Southern Political Development.” 2019. Journal of Politics 81(2). e27-e32.

Social Status and Redistributive Politics: Lessons from India and the American South” (with Pavithra Suryanarayan). 2019. Newsletter of the Organized Section in Comparative Politics of the American Political Science Association 29(1): 99-106.

Politics of the American South.” 2018. Oxford Bibliographies in Political Science. Ed. Sandy Maisel. New York: Oxford University Press.

From Pariahs to the Privileged: On Keri Leigh Merritt’s Masterless Men.” Los Angeles Review of Books. August 19, 2017.

Confederate flags and Nazi swastikas together? That’s new. Here’s what it means.” The Monkey Cage. August 14, 2017.

Most Americans opposed integrating the military in 1948. Most Americans support transgender military service today.” The Monkey Cage. August 1, 2017.

Many Americans support Trump’s immigration order. Many Americans backed Japanese internment camps, too.” The Monkey Cage. February 2, 2017.