Interracial Civic and Social Contact in Multiethnic America

in The Paradoxes of Integration

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780226626628
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226626642 | DOI:
Interracial Civic and Social Contact in Multiethnic America

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One plausible explanation for the tendency of people who live in integrated neighborhoods to be less racially averse is provided by Gordon Allport's hypotheses about racial contact. People residing in racially mixed neighborhoods may exhibit greater tolerance towards other groups because their socially learned prejudices are offset by their daily social experiences and interactions. This theory finds support in recent research suggesting that interracial contact positively affects whites' attitudes toward minority groups. Presumably, these processes will also work for other races, particularly on the relationship among African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos. This chapter investigates the influence of a neighborhood's racial composition on interracial contact among America's four major racial groups. It shows that people who live in more integrated neighborhoods are more likely to establish interracial friendship groups and belong to more interracial civic associations. These patterns of contact account for some of the geographic differences observed in whites' racial attitudes.

Keywords: racial attitudes; whites; African Americans; Asian Americans; Latinos; interracial contact; civic associations; friendship groups; integrated neighborhoods

Chapter.  7559 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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