Ellison, Christopher G., & Powers, Daniel A.
The Contact Hypothesis and Racial Attitudes Among Black Americans
University of Texas-Austin
Does interracial contact yield positive racial attitudes?
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Social Science Quarterly
Vol. 75, No.2, pp. 385-400
- Childhood and adult interracial contact enhances likelihood that Blacks will report White friendships. (Childhood contact has bigger effect).
- Childhood and adult interracial contact have modest and inconsistent effects.
- Blacks who report having close White friends express more favorable views of Whites and race relations than those who lack such friends.
- Casual contact has no clear relationship with Black racial attitudes.
- Interracial friendship is among the strongest predictors of Blacks' racial attitudes.
- Interracial contact, especially when it occurs early in life, enhances the likelihood that Blacks will develop close friendships with Whites.
- Blacks reporting at least one close White friend are approximately three times more likely to believe that Whites want to facilitate Black socioeconomic and political advancement than to believe that Whites are indifferent to the conditions of Black Americans.
- Blacks with White friends are also roughly 20 percent less likely to feel that Whites want to perpetuate Black marginality than to feel that Whites are indifferent.
- Although close White friendships do not notably reduce the likelihood of negative racial attitudes in this instance, having at least one close White friendship is associated with an increase of nearly 40 percent in the odds of believing that discrimination has diminished.
- Blacks reporting greater exposure to Whites in desegregated contexts as adults express more positive perceptions of the contemporary racial climate. By contrast, Blacks experiencing desegregated conditions earlier in life are relatively unlikely to believe that discrimination has declined.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Attitudes, Contact Theory , Cross Race Friendships, Racial Composition
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
Multinomial Logistic Regression
National Black Americans
Unit of Analysis:
- Survey data from the National Survey of Black Americans (1979-80).
- Representative sample of Black adults, n=2,107.
- DV: Racial attitudes (disapproval of interracial dating, skepticism regarding the motivations of Whites, perceptions of improvement in the racial climate)
- IV: Interracial contact and friendships.
- Control Variable: age, education, gender, family income, urban vs. rural residence, region.