What helps non-black people support BLM? A signal from someone in their own ethnic group

In these experiments, we asked our control group to indicate their levels of support for BLM, without presenting them any other information. We asked our two other survey groups to read a letter supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement written by either a white author or an Asian American author.

The Asian American and white respondents in our survey who read letters sympathetic to the movement from people who shared their racial identity were substantially more supportive of BLM than those who did not read a letter in support of the movement. Moreover, we found the effect of the letters on BLM support was largely dependent on Asian American and white respondents viewing the co-racial author as being likable and trustworthy. This finding is in line with a long line of research showing people are generally more receptive to messages from individuals who share their race.

Our survey results suggest when a racially diverse group of individuals speak out for Black Lives Matter, they increase support for the movement among nonblacks. Appeals from nonblacks are an important signal that BLM has broad-based support.