The good ol’ days: White identity, racial nostalgia, and the perpetuation of racial extremism

Christine Reyna, Kara Harris, Andrea Bellovary, Angel Armenta, Michael Zarate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


A prevailing theme in White nationalist rhetoric is nostalgia for a time when Whites dominated American culture and had unchallenged status. The present research examines a form of collective nostalgia called racial nostalgia and its association with negative intergroup attitudes and extreme ideologies (White nationalism). In Studies 1 and 2, racial nostalgia was associated with higher racial identity, anti-immigrant attitudes, and White nationalism. Study 2 revealed that racial nostalgia was related to extreme ideologies, in part, through perceptions that immigrants and racial minorities posed realistic/symbolic threats. Study 3 manipulated nostalgia using a writing prompt (“America’s racial past” vs. “games of America’s past”) and an identity prime (prime vs. no prime). Racial nostalgia was higher in the racial prompt versus the games prompt condition, regardless of identity prime. Furthermore, there were significant indirect effects of the nostalgia manipulation on support for anti-immigrant policies and endorsement of White nationalism through increased racial nostalgia and its association with perceived threats. These findings show that racial nostalgia can be a maladaptive form of collective nostalgia linked to a sense of loss and threat, and can make people sympathetic to extreme racial ideologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)NP81-NP103
JournalGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • collective nostalgia
  • extremism
  • identity
  • immigration
  • realistic threat
  • symbolic threat
  • White nationalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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