Red states and black lives: applying the racial threat hypothesis to the Black Lives Matter movement

Alexander H. Updegrove, Maisha N. Cooper, Erin A. Orrick, Alex R. Piquero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Despite increased media attention, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has received little scholarly attention. News coverage of BLM is often divisive, which suggests important differences may exist in how the public views BLM. Within the context of the racial threat perspective, the present study uses a nationally representative sample of 2,114 individuals from 33 states and the District of Columbia to identify state- and individual-level predictors of BLM opposition. Results reveal that older, Republican, and conservative men are more likely to oppose BLM, while Blacks and individuals who perceive their local police to exhibit racial biases against Blacks are less likely to oppose BLM. State-level racial threat variables are largely nonsignificant, but states with more fatal police shootings are less likely to oppose BLM, while states where the Republican candidate won a greater percentage of the vote in the 2012 presidential election are more likely to oppose BLM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-108
Number of pages24
JournalJustice Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • black lives matter
  • deadly force
  • law enforcement
  • Racial threat

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