Black rap, white rock: Non-declarative culture and the racialization of cultural categories

Julian Schaap*, Jeroen van der Waal, Willem de Koster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
158 Downloads (Pure)


Sociologists of race and ethnicity have convincingly demonstrated that cultural categorizations are affected by racialization. For example, some music genres are clearly dominated by people of color (e.g., rap, soul, r&b), whereas others are particularly popular among whites (e.g., rock, country, classical). However, we know relatively little about how habitual such racialized categorizations are for people. We offer an integrated approach of cultural-sociological insights on the implicit underpinnings of categorization processes to understand how implicit, “nondeclarative” aspects of racial association lie at the heart of the—often, but not always, unintentional—(re)production of racialized cultural categories. We use an Implicit Association Test in combination with a survey (n = 920) to study the connection between rock music and whiteness, and rap music and blackness. First, we find a relationship between whiteness/blackness and having a preference for rock/rap. Second, we demonstrate that the racial associations regarding these genres are firmly grounded in non-declarative knowledge and that this is widely shared across racial groups, albeit somewhat more among people of color.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSociological Inquiry
Early online date3 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO projects #322‐45‐003, #452‐17‐009, and #016.Vidi.185.207) and the Erasmus University Trustfund.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Sociological Inquiry published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Alpha Kappa Delta: The International Sociology Honor Society


Dive into the research topics of 'Black rap, white rock: Non-declarative culture and the racialization of cultural categories'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this