Rock, Pop, White Power: How Music Influences Support for Ethnic Groups

Newswise, March 5, 2012

Just a few minutes of listening to mainstream rock music was enough to influence white college students to favor a student group catering mostly to whites over groups serving other ethnic and racial groups, a new study found.

However, white students who listened to more ethnically diverse Top 40 pop music showed equal support for groups focused on whites, African Americans, Arab Americans and Latino Americans.

While the rock music had no lyrics related to race or ethnicity, the music itself may unconsciously bring to mind positive feelings among white people about others like themselves, said Heather LaMarre, lead author of the study, who did the work as a doctoral student in communication at Ohio State University.

“Rock music is generally associated with white Americans, so we believe it cues white listeners to think about their positive association with their own in-group,” said LaMarre, who is now an assistant professor of journalism and mass communication at the University of Minnesota.


Students in a third group listened to radical white-power rock, a genre tied to white supremacist groups. These students gave more support to the white group than students who listened to rock or pop music, and gave the least support to African-American and Arab-American groups.


The study involved 148 undergraduate students, who were told they would be participating in a study concerning the funding of student groups on campus using tuition funds.

When each participant arrived for the study, they were told to wait for the beginning of the session. They were placed in a waiting room with music playing softly in the background. They were not allowed to have access to any other media, including music players, computers, phones or reading materials.

Participants sat for seven minutes while the music played in the background. They listened to one of three types of music: mainstream rock (artists included Bruce Springsteen and The White Stripes), Top 40 pop music (including Justin Timberlake, Fergie and Akon and Gwen Stefani), or radical white power rock (including the bands Prussian Blue, Screwdriver, and Bound for Glory).

The participants were then called in and told they had the opportunity to give feedback about how their tuition money should be distributed to four student groups.

The groups all had identical descriptions about what they did, but listed different ethnic affiliations: the centers for African American Studies, Latino American Studies, Arab American Studies, and Rural and Agricultural Studies. (Pre-tests showed that rural and agricultural studies was highly associated with whites among college students.)

Findings showed that those who listened to the Top 40 music split the funds nearly equally—about one-fourth of the money to each of the four groups.

Those who listened to the mainstream rock gave about 35 percent of the funds to the white-American group—and roughly equal amounts to the other three groups.

Those who listened to the radical white power rock gave the most of all the participants to the white-American group—about 40 percent. They gave about 25 percent to the Latino-American group, about 16 percent to the African-American group and about 15 percent to the Arab-American group.


“Those who listened to the rock music gave more to the white group, but split the rest equally among the other three—in other words they weren’t punitive against the others as were the listeners of the white power rock.”


While this study only involved white students and three genres of music, she said it’s likely that other races and ethnicities have their own biases which could be activated by listening to music, whether it is rap, country or any other type.


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  • Jerrybear

    What an unscientific study. It proves absolutely nothing. These organizations conducting these ‘studies’ obviously have a lot of spare time on their hands.

    • crazy_j

       … and a lot of government cash. Have you ever seen the articles that list the ridiculous things our government throws money at?

      Here’s one of many such lists:

      I’ve been trying for years to come up with an idea to get some money handed to me by the government for some nonsensical study, but lack academic credentials in any kind of social science.

  • Awesome, this study is right up there with cancer research and ION propulsion technology………Seriously University of Minnesota why not do the same experiment with a bunch of your recently imported Somalis??  Let them all listen to the “white devil rock” and then see which box they check……

  • libertarian4339

    Due to severe budget problems the universities are cutting some activities, deleting some courses, and laying off a few people.  This trend will continue on until the country implodes with civil conflict, and,  if for some miracle it does not, this economy will be locked into revenue and funding shortfalls for years to come.

    So, why are these PC indoctrination centers spending foolishly on studies that are no more than lies used to support their sick PC dogma?

  • What a load of garbage, of course it’s only mentioned that maybe other races might have the same tendencies while listening to things like rap. But, it’s only the white students who are subjected to the “lab rat” treatment.

  • I’m betting you can play Lawrence Welk, Skrewdriver, and Deep Purple for the black kids while they wait and they don’t give whites a dime.   Conduct that “study” and post the results if the science is so sound.

  • Hirschibold

    The rapper 50 Cent once said that he took his name from a local drug dealer in his Queens neighborhood. His point was that rappers who appropriated Italian gangster names (i.e. Gotti, Capone) were fools, as Italian gangsters generally looked down on blacks (recall the scene in the Godfather where the mob boss declares they “have no souls”). I have to say that in this case the rapper is right.He who worships his enemy is a slave; which makes wiggerism (the appropriation of thug culture by suburban whites) such a comical phenomenon. These poor kids are idolizing people who despise them.

    As social critic James Kunstler said of hip-hop, “Only a culture as clueless and narcissistic as suburban white America could regard hip-hop as just another form of entertainment.”

  • Southern__Hoosier

    “the music itself may unconsciously bring to mind positive feelings among
    white people about others like themselves, said Heather LaMarre,”

    Ah! I see the problem, being white and feeling good about yourself is racist.

    • Heinrich24

      In a nutshell, yes, that’s exactly the “problem” according to our Bolshevik masters!

  • Shawn_thefemale

    What a beneficial use of our tax dollars. I suggest we halt all current cancer  and alzheimers treatment studies and funnel those designated funds to this amazingly useful – and scientifically accurate – research immediately.

    • Southern__Hoosier

      Like penis washing?

      “( – The National Institute of Mental Health
      (NIMH), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), spent
      $823,200 of economic stimulus funds in 2009 on a study by a UCLA
      research team to teach uncircumcised African men how to wash their
      genitals after having sex.”

      2009? Can’t blame this on Bush.

      • R P

        Don’t they already wash their penises after sex by having anal sex with an albino?

  • A few willing study subjects listen to various genres for a few minutes then get to make hypothetical funding decisions over which they have no control in real life slash with real money, in earnest.

    Count me unimpressed.

    Heather LaMarre…she blinded us with (junk) science.

  • I don’t give a hoot about this quack “science”. But, I’ve always known that, despite Berry, Jimmy Hendrix & a few old-timers- rock is White people’s music.

    • guest

      Jimmy Hendrix was often harassed by blacks for being too “white”.

  • Screwdriver and Bound for Glory, hell yeah. m/ 🙂 m/

  • One thing that these academics should have included by didn’t is country music. They could have played Vince Gill, Charlie Pride, and George Strait and see what these students would have thought.

    • Xanthippe2

      There is classical music, bluegrass, swing, metal, dark wave, new folk, old noise, etc. etc. too.

      All these types of music are mostly by Whites and appeal mostly to Whites.  No doubt they should all be banned because they might make White people have “positive association(s) with their own in-group.”

      • saxonsun

        Don’t be surprised if it happens–things are completely sick as they are.

  • StivD

    New Wave and post-punk always felt like the whitest music to me. The look, the sound and the attitude. Even Grunge was really great white music but played by ..some.. people with that ‘blame- white- society- for -everything- mentality.  But, I could still listen to Nirvana and feel like it was about me a a little.

    • Okay.  Yer Young.  Yer just a Young Fella but I Love Ya!  Not a one of yer Preferred Music Choices do I recognize.

      OLD Country, (Twenties, Thirties, Forties, Fifties), what do ya think?

      Roarin’ Twenties Music?

      How ’bout some Good Old Fashioned WHITE Rock and Roll? (MOSTLY before nineties)

      Last but NEVER LEAST!, my personal favorite, Civil War Confederate Music?

      • Xanthippe2

        Confederate music:  It’s great stuff!  And how about Souza or Scottish bagpipes?  There are thousands of kinds of wonderful music by Whites!

        • I’ve heard a little Bagpipe Music and it wasn’t bad!  I’m not versed in it but what I heard, I liked.  As for the other, no, I’m not familiar.  Can you steer me towards some examples please?

      • StivD

        Not that young. Most of the music I’m referring to was in the eighties. 😉

        As far as older music, I have a CD of Sinatra songs and I do like Hank Williams Sr. I love a lot of the Hard Rock from the seventies.

        With most of that music I always got the sense that it wasn’t so influenced by blacks as some would have us believe. 

  • Ah Yes, Music is now the “cause”.

    Dare someone ask you about your “racism”, ask them this:  Where from and how did it come to be that I am not allowed to just be left alone?

    And Pray Tell, where in The Constitution does it say, I am obligated to accept you?  And speaking of “accepting”, where does it say I am obligated to pay for you (social programs)?

    • saxonsun

      Yes, “Dixie” is great.

  • Xanthippe2

    If I arrived at a university to participate in some sort of study and heard Skrewdriver playing over the intercom, I’d figure something was up I think.

    I do hope the members of Prussian Blue and BFG will be getting royalties.

    • “Rural and Agricultural Studies” sounds like it would support farm animals or improved irrigation techniques.


  • Xanthippe2

    If I arrived at a university to participate in some sort of study and heard Skrewdriver playing over the intercom, I’d figure something was up I think.

    I do hope the members of Prussian Blue and BFG will be getting royalties.

  • Southern__Hoosier

    Odd how no one has mentioned the truly great ones. Talk about provoking feelings of greatness. Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries or Handel’s Messiah or  Modest Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain.  The list is almost endless.


    • It would be too great a disparity. In Lit, Blacks, of course, don’t have anything comparable to Dante, Shakespeare or Dostoevsky, but they do have some equivalents of, say, Frank Norris or Harper Lee. In music- which is internationally recognized as perhaps the only significant field of Black creativity- they don’t have an equivalent to smaller European talents.
      Johan Pachelbel, known today- at least I know him, and I’m not a specialist- for a canon, left a vast work which is, I suppose, greater in everything than the whole music composed by Blacks in their entire history.

      So, not in mathematics or painting or economics, but in the area they brag about & exult in their imagined superiority- their collected works are inferior when compared to the opus of a largely forgotten minor European composer.

      It would be cruel to remind them of this unpleasant fact.

      • Southern__Hoosier

         Yes the truth can be ugly, but never racist.

  • Christopher_Nelson

    No rap music, with  its anti-white “hate speech” in it? Shame.

    Why do all of these studies always target white people?

    And there was really no group for whites to give their money to. “Rural and Agricultural Studies”? What does that have to do with white interests? What, does it teach whites how to grow better corn? Give me a break.

    If it was me, I would have told them, I can’t give to any of the groups. None of them are pro white. And I couldn’t care less about the other  minority studies groups.

  • It does bear repeating that seemingly every ethnic group had some Studies organization except Whites, which is still the majority of this country.

    Why exactly would listening to White Nationalist hardcore punk make somebody more likely to give money to Agricultural Studies?  What is the connection?

  • Clight12

    One of the most beautiful country music songs ever!  Give me a cowboy that looks just like Alan  in this video…So handsome!  And they say White men aren’t good looking?? I always had a weakness for cowboy hats, boots and all that goes with it. Something about them that catches my heart and soul.

    • ncpride

      A country music lover too I see.  I love Alan, but have always had a particular weakness for Keith Urban. Although with so many talented country singers, it’s impossible to pick a favorite. After you’ve heard the stories told and lessons learned from country music’s lyrics, I find it impossible to see how anyone can listen to the trash that passes for music these days, always talking about the ‘ho’s in the club, shaking their booty’ nonsense. My 11 year old son even noticed, and told me that ‘todays’ music had no meaning and message. He’s right on that score.

  • Culturally different it may  be, but- this would make Blacks run for the hills.

  • Victor

    I think this survey is right on target.
    I know it makes me feel more like a human being to hear blacks howl about raping, killing,  killing police and burning other peoples property rather than a song about love or a family of something soft and sweet.

  • Hirschibold

     My comment is not anti-white. And if I am a troll, then I am certainly a very committed one (donating time and and money to the cause). Tell you what. Why don’t you go door to door through the suburbs and tell people that you are an advocate for European-Americans. Then see who gets treated like the troll. My point wasn’t that white people are stupid; it’s that a good number of them are brainwashed and as members of the leisure classes they have turned to jelly.

    • Zorro

      The past few years  in this economy has hardened quite a few people, and I have seen it first hand. Good that they woke up, even if it had to be by getting kicked in their pants.

      Hard times will harden quite a few more, and that’s a fact. They will seek you and your websites out; you won’t need to go to them.

    • Djinn42

      It would seem that someone with PhD in their name might have figured that out for themselves.

  • Relax, Cobain & comp. had had a few good songs.

    • Djinn42

      I have to completely disagree. All thru the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s music was insightful with themes of love, loss, hope and fun. Along came the 80’s and fun was pushed to the extremes, the 90’s ushered in Cobains Nirvana and the view of a bleak world existence that ruined a whole decade and it seemed all bands were willing to jump in the wagon to be a part of it. Fun was gone and apparently talented musicians went with it, this was par for the course thru to the new millenium. Most of the bands could hardly play in the studio, even with multiple takes and overdubs the albums were awful and to watch them play live was comical and sloppy at best.
      I had lost all hope until Nickelback emerged and suddenly talented bands were being signed again.

      Here’s a little gem from the 90’s to help you to remember just how bad it got…..

      • StivD

        Nirvana and most of the best Grunge/Alt. bands were some of the most talented groups there had even been. So what if they were bleak, many people felt that bleakness before the bands came along. That’s why they were so popular. 

        Sorry but it wasn’t until the latter 90s and all the way up to the present that music went to the depths of mediocrity, at best.  Part of it was because after Grunge music went black completely.

        • Djinn42

          As much as I think I should respond to this with a lengthy reply I believe I will refrain. I come from a time when music was an escape and bands sang about the cup being half full and can never be convinced that feeling bleak enough to write songs about it is anything more than clinical depression.
          I would take anyone from the 90’s and put them up against Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, Jeff Beck, Pete Townsend etc. the list goes on and on, and watch with humor as they were melted beneath the superior songwriting and musical skills located in just the pinky nail of any of the aforementioned musicians.
          We will just have to agree to disagree on this one.

  • I just wanted to confuse things a little bit. I could have mentioned Cowboy Troy.

  • Merriweather

     Agreed. My parents and everyone who grew up in that era got to enjoy that music. Nowadays there is really anything good, just a few small time  bands and the rest are bearded, flannel-wearing hipsters.

  • Seek

    Oh, let’s get this straight:  Listening to the Ramones or the Raveonettes, on some subconscious level, will make me into a white “racist.”  So for the sake of racial brotherhood, this hack academic, a “communcations” major, would force-feed me massive quantities of Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent.  Ohio State must be desperate for new profs these days.

  • I wouldn’t like to write a massive comment, but- IMO, only very small amount of non- European (in broadest sense) musical culture is appealing, not only to the Westerners, but globally.

    I don’t have a deep knowledge of music- just slightly above average, but have tried, in my youth & later to listen to various types of music. Well, this is the result:

    * Chinese music – strange, various musical styles are simply boring
    * Indian music- parts can be good, but it’s weak in rhythm & so saturated with cultural context I generally missed the point
    * Arab & Middle East- annoying, noise, irritating
    * Black African- surprisingly, some – I forgot whence – melodies were tender & harmonious. Don’t see any connection to Black American music, from jazz to rap.
    * Latin America – Mayas ? Incas ? Anyway, this is a melodious instrumental music (Simon & Garfunkel used it in “El Condor pasa”)

    This whole “global” music is weak when compared to our heritage: folk music from Ireland and England to Ukraine and Georgia (in Caucasus), from Italy and Greece to Norway & Finland is, let’s be frank- unsurpassable (I’d make an exception for Spain, since musical culture of this land is, at least partially, strongly influenced by Arab noise). Classical music- no comment. Popular modern music, from 19th and 20th century on- also.

    Blacks, apart from some good tunes in Africa, have in the Western Hemisphere produced mostly vulgar noise & explicit profanities. OK- Gospel & blues excepted. But, in the US, Cuba, Brazil- Afro music is a display of rather monotonous rhythms, very limited harmonies & easily forgettable melodies.

    And jazz ? I don’t get why so many White people seek a depth where there is none.

  • curri

      Muck like Germany, they fear The South and that is why there must always be a constant assault.

      Tell me, how longs it been now?  They don’t speak of History, they demonize us.  They’ll pay in the End.  Whatever happens, they’ll pay.  Either they will be pushed back to their own Countries or we will pass away and they will be left with nothing but Third World the entire World over but either way, We really do win.  They aren’t gittin’ away with nothin’!

  • JackKrak

    A part of me has always known that my admiration for the riffs of AC/DC and Black Sabbath marks me as a true and committed racist….

  • anarchyst

    “Rap” or “hip-hop” is NOT “music” as it has no melody, just a poorly defined rhythm . . .

  • ncpride

    I have heard that song by Alan before, and it’s a great one. We have the same taste in music I can see. I love the old rock bands too and Journey is one of my favorites, along with Foreigner, Boston, Heart and Loverboy. There are just too many to name! Not to mention the ‘big hair’ bands such as Skid Row, Autograph, Posion, Ratt…. those were the bands that were  ‘in’ when I was a teenager, and I still love that music if for nothing more than the nostalgia.

    I miss those older country bands too such as Diamond Rio and one of my all time favorites, Shenandoah. Again, too many great ones to name them all.

    • Anon12

      Oh, yes. Me too. 

      Foreigner and Loverboy I remember but not Ratt, Autograph or Skid Row.  Maybe that was later in the late 80’s or 90’s?

       I get on youtube and listen to those in the 60’s 70’s and 80’s mostly, when I still had good memories of a White America.  I worked as a cocktail waitress in a neighborhood bar in the 70’s and everyone was like a big family. Met my 2nd husband there. Mostly regulars coming in and all the WHITE Iron workers, construction crews, and ever day down home people … I made good friends there and still have them as friends.

      .Everywhere I went I saw mostly White people until the 80’s, before it started creeping in. The mexicans, blacks, Asians and Middle easterners were growing by leaps and bounds and then before you knew it, they owned all the liquor stores, 7-11’s,  motels, pizza parlors, doughnut shops, and you name it.  I thought, what happened to MY country and so quickly!

  • Beloved Comrade

    Put a bullet through your TV

  • Beloved Comrade

    You left out Lynyrd Skynyrd.

    Jim Morrison, Roger Waters, Janis Joplin and yes Meatloaf.

  • What Zorro, Comrade and others have named plus, Led Zepplin, The Rolling Stones, Roy Orbinson, Warr, etc. but mostly I just prefer Old Country.

  • Is that German?

  • LOVE IT!!!
    I had heard of the name “Dwight Yoakum” but never thought I’d like him ’cause he’s young.  You know how they’ve changed Country Music too so I just don’t give it (new country) a chance.At any rate, I’m impressed!

  • You don’t have to be.  America was Born in The South and perhaps that’s why you have such a strong attachment.

  • Yes!!!

  • ed

     jethro tull, even though Ian Anderson is a blathering liberal………. Buddy Rich, Frank Zappa, Genesis, even though Peter Gabriel seems to be a leftist….all the composers for Batman Begins, Girl with the Pearl earring, Bourne movies…

  • Anonymous

    The worst I’ve heard from Johnny Rebel is the ‘n’ word, nothing about calls for violence.  The only Skrewdriver song I heard was played while talking about the aussie riots a few years back with a young aussie guy at the end looking into the camera saying, “You’re not welcome here, this is our land.  Get the hell out.”

  • Eh… reminded me of a friend, also a Chinese student, who tragically died in a car crash two days before relocating to the US. Once in my house we listened to Mozart’s Jupiter symphony (Mozart was his favorite composer). His comments were strikingly similar- actually, he said that Mozart had transformed him from zombie to a MAN.

  • Djinn42

    Let’s not forget classic Lynyrd Skynyrd and the song they devoted to a black dobro player they knew from Jacksonville, FLA.
    It’s a true story and helps us to remember not to judge the individual but the race as a whole tho ol’ Curt sounded like a run of the mill wino.

    “The Ballad Of Curtis Loew”

  • Djinn42

    Actually Prussian Blue recanted their “racist” music, blamed it on their mothers racism, moved with her to Montana, now embrace diversity because they “think it’s pretty cool” and became potheads for various medical reasons.
    As much as I hate to link anyone to the ultra-liberal pages of Wikipedia it seems to be the easiest for now.

  • Redtailrav

    It seems that every couple of days there is some ‘study’ or other that somehow reflects on the evil of White people.  Even White babies are suspected of racism. It is the “Existing While White Syndrome”. The very existence of Caucasians is somehow an affront to the other races. I would be interested in asking the author’s of this research how they are defining ‘white’? We all know that Americans of European descent come from an area north of  the Mediterranean and Black seas and extending east from the Atlantic to the Altai Mountains. This represents a great diversity of cultures, languages, and folkways and how many people-maybe a billion? These all become racist when they hear their own music? If a villager living in Galicia hears A-ha singing “Take on Me” he/she unconsciously feels animosity toward Africans?  

  • Beloved Comrade

    The Animals too.  Did Eric Burdon not have the greatest rock voice ever?  

    The Beatles, John Lennon especially, who told Elvis Presley “Before you, there was nothing.”

    And The Band. Who doesn’t love  “The Weight” or “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” or “Up on Cripple Creek?”
    Best version of “The Weight” is on The Last Waltz.

    • Zorro

      I liked Jay Black and the Americans. Jay had some voice. Of course, growing up I listened to Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons, Jan and Dean, The Beach Boys, Elvis, Carl Perkins, The Righteous Brothers, Hank Snow, Ernest Tubbs, Marty Robbins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, among so many more.

      I liked Johnny Paycheck’s song, “Take This Job and Shove It”, which they made into a movie.

      How about all the Trucker music that was popular in the 1970s, when CB radios were everywhere? That was when the movie, “Smokey and the Bandit” with Burt Reynolds, and Sally Field came out.

      I still remember listening to a song called, “Convoy” on the radio.

      Personally, I liked Doo Wop and Big Band music, too. The Pop music of my parents’ era was always on in my home, so I grew up listening to Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, and Perry Como.

  • Zorro

    Yes, we have much in common. As for the term, “Judeo” that seemed to have been introduced in the 1980s, perhaps a bit earlier.

    Many of the Christian Zionists, there was never such a thing when I was growing up, are too occupied with the Jews, Israel, and the Old Testament. Christianity takes only a minor role in their Churches.

    What these people fail to realize is that the First Covenant, which is between GOD and HIS people, was fulfilled when Christ was born. Then began the New and Everlasting Covenant that was the New Testament,  and the Gospels.

  • ncpride

    Ah well, as I said too many great ones to choose from. I just think Keith Urban is a very talented musician and one hell of a guitar player. He has a beautiful voice and is drop dead georgeous to boot.  : ) But really, what lady wouldn’t love him after listening to… Your Everything, or Tonight I Wanna Cry? Beautiful songs…

  • It’s pretty ironic that some leftists are now arguing that listening to any kind of rock music (even liberals like Bruce Springsteen) is pro-white.

    I think this shows that the left is starting to get desperate. There are an increasing number of rock, folk and electronic bands with right wing or politically mixed views and its increasingly difficult to entangle right from left.

    As a case in point, look at the sounds and imagery being used in the genre known as neo-folk. Because leftists have been having a hard type stereotyping these bands and genres, they’re now trying to brand any form of music that is mostly listened to by whites as racist. 

  • As a young white male, the biggest problem I have with most ‘white power’ music is that it’s simply terrible.