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Racial Attitudes in America: Trends and Interpretations (Social Trends in the United States)
Synopses & Reviews
This book traces changes in American attitudes toward racial issues that have taken place between the 1940s and the 1980s--a crucial period that encompasses the civil rights revolution, the growth of black militancy and white resistance, and the enactment of affirmative-action legislation.
The authors are the first to compare data about black and white attitudes collected by three major survey organizations: Gallup, the National Opinion Research Center, and the Institute for Social Research. They make careful distinctions between attitudes toward principles of racial equality and attitudes toward government action to implement those principles. The wide research base and methodological sophistication of their analysis yield conclusions quite different from those of earlier, more narrowly drawn studies. For example, they find that while there has been a striking increase in support for principles of equality and fairness, support for some kinds of implementation of these ideals lags far behind or has even declined among both blacks and whites. The implementation measures considered range from busing to achieve integration of schools to laws requiring equal opportunity in employment. In addition to reanalyzing survey data, the authors have also performed several innovative experiments on the wording and context of survey questions to help them interpret the data more accurately.
About the Author
Howard Schuman is Professor of Sociology and Research Scientist, Emeritus, at the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center.Charlotte Steeh is Researcher in Survey Methodology at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
Table of Contents
Perspectives and Historical Background
Problems in Studying Changes in Racial Attitudes
Trends in White Racial Attitudes
Sources of Change in White Racial Attitudes
Trends in Black Racial Attitudes
Theoretical Interpretations of White Trends
Appendix A: Locating and Selecting Trend Questions
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