Jackman, Mary, & Crane, Marie
Some of My Best Friends are Black: Interracial Friendship and Whites' Racial Attitudes
UC Davis; University of Texas at Austin
Examines the tenets and assumptions of contact theory.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Public Opinion Quarterly
Vol. 50, No. 4, pp. 459-486
- Findings diverge from contact theory.
- Intimacy is not that important--having Black acquaintances has the same effects on Whites' racial attitudes as having Black friends. Either form of contact has limited effects.
- In general, Whites must have a Black friend(s) and Black acquaintance(s) to impact their racial attitudes.
- Having Black friends or acquaintances has almost no effect on Whites' racial policy views.
- 2/3 -3/4 of Whites who have Black good friends and Black acquaintances oppose increasing government attempts to promote racial equality.
- The authors find support for the tenet contact theory that says interracial contacts should take place between status equals to be effective. However, the findings suggest that equal status between Whites and their Black friends does not make them 'equals' but instead offsets the status differential that is based on race.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Attitudes, Contact Theory , Cross Race Friendships, Intergroup Relations, Life Course, Neighborhood, Prejudice
Method of Analysis:
Unit of Analysis:
- Data are from a national probability sample survey of adults, age 18 years and over, in the 48 contiguous US, in Fall 1975. The survey was administered by the Survey Research Center of the Institute for Social Research at University of Michigan. Face to face interviews were conducted with 1,914 respondents (1,648 Whites). Survey questions examine 1) racial composition of respondents' friendship circles, and 2) Whites' racial attitudes.
- DV: Attitudes toward Blacks, attitude towards government policy (e.g., affirmative action, integrated schools), preference to live near or work with Whites, conservative racial attitudes
- IV: Racial composition of acquaintance circles, racial composition of respondent's neighborhood and place of work, informal interaction with Blacks, exposure to Black in previous neighborhoods and workplaces, having Black friends, having Black acquaintances