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RACIAL ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOR 113

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Lev Mills Le Rsi? (1972) Screenprint on paper The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York City

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Far more research involving either sys- tematic experimentation or large-scale sample surveys has been conducted on the attitudes of whites than on those of blacks. Some of the very earliest surveys on racial attitudes excluded blacks altogether. As one survey analyst wrote (Smith, 1987:441~: The attitudes white Americans hold toward their black counterparts prob- ably comprise the longest running topic in public opinion research. Yet, despite this prominence of race-relations topics in scientific sample surveys, until recently black Americans-long the minority group most identified with "racial matters" in the United States-were virtually invisible to seri- ous students of American values. In part this imbalance was due to small numbers of blacks in national survey samples. But in part it may also have reflected assumptions shared by many researchers, stated most clearly as Myrdal's "American dilemma": a contradiction between American democratic values and the actual discrimi- natory treatment of blacks. This view therefore posed American race relations as a problem fundamentally located in the minds of white Americans (Myr- dal, 1944: 1xxi), with black attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs as secondary reactions. This attention to white attitudes virtually ignored the important role of black self-determination, and it also drew attention away from the practical costs and advantages, to blacks and whites, of segregation and discrimination. But, the focus on attitudes of whites did have a substantive basis. In view of the economic and political power of the white majority, a 115

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY change in some of their attitudes would be necessary if blacks were to succeed in their struggle for civil rights and equality. In this chapter we present the data on white and black attitudes and then the explanations that have been offered for those attitudes. We trace change in the racial attitudes of white Americans, and we examine actual practices of discriminatory or equal treatment in black-white relations. The literature on the attitudes of whites is extensive, but is focused on a few particular types of issues: openness to integration, support for racially equalitarian treatment, and other matters involving evaluations of blacks, integration, or racial equality. The focus on these issues in the survey data, at least implicitly, carries over much of the assumption that the American dilemma is a matter of whites' acceptance of blacks. We redress this emphasis wherever possible by compar- ing the attitudes of blacks to those of whites. Black attitudes often differ from those of whites. For example, blacks are far more likely than whites to believe that discrimination and prejudice are ongoing social problems that lie at the heart of black-white inequality and to place a stronger emphasis than do whites on equalitarian values. On many important issues, however, the attitudes of blacks and whites are very similar. This chapter presents evidence supporting several important findings: growth in white acceptance of the goals of integration and equal treatment; white reluctance to accept the implementation of policies intended to change race relations; reluctance on the part of whites to enter social settings (e.g., schools) in which blacks are a majority; continuing discriminatory behavior by whites, especially in areas involving close personal contact; conflicting beliefs of whites with regard to the values of equality and individualism; and high levels of support among blacks for goals of integration and equal treat ment. In addressing both black and white perspectives, three points stand out: (1) blacks and whites share a substantial consensus, in the abstract, on the broad goal of achieving an integrated and equalitarian society; (2) their images of what constitute integrated, equalitarian, and racially harmonious conditions are often different or contradictory; and (3) black and white perceptions of the genesis and reproduction of group inequality are sharply divergent. The outcome of these patterns is a dynamic tension in which blacks are a self-aware and politically conscious group that resists a view of integration as complete assimilation, while many whites believe in and ad- vocate equalitarian ideals but often express ambivalence and sometimes man- ifest open resistance and discriminatory behavior toward blacks. THE EMPIRICAL RECORD: 1940-1986 CHANGE IN RACIAL ATTITUDES: AN OVERVIEW Beginning in the late 1930s, the methodology and institutional base for conducting scientific sample surveys improved (see Rossi et al., 1983~. This 116

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RACIAL ATTITU DES AN D BEHAVIORS made it possible to develop an "attitudinal record" over time based on the recorded replies of sample survey respondents to questions concerning black- white relations (Schuman et al., 1985~. In some cases, these questions have been asked in identical or near-identical form from the 1940s to the 1980s. Several clear patterns emerge from these trend studies. Schuman and col- leagues (1985) drew several conclusions regarding change in the attitudes of whites. We supplement their list with other conclusions regarding the atti- tudes of blacks. Black Americans have supported racially equalitarian principles as far back as there are data. There has been a steady increase in support among white Americans for principles of racial equality, but substantially less support for policies in- tended to implement principles of racial equality. Blacks also exhibit a gap between support for principles and support for policies intended to implement those principles, and blacks show recent decreases in support for policy implementation strategies. Whites are more accepting of equal treatment with regard to the public domains of life than private domains of life, and they are especially accepting of relations involving transitory forms of contact. Openness to equal treatment also varies by the number or proportion of blacks likely to be involved. Where blacks remain a clear minority, the data indicate growing white acceptance of racial equality. Where blacks approach a majority, change is less frequent and overall levels of pro equal-treatment response are low. Whites living in the North have been and remain more pro equal treat- ment than those living in the South. Patterns of change are usually the same . , . in eacn region. Measures of black alienation from white society suggest an increase in black alienation from the late 1960s into the 1980s. The process of change during the 1960s and early 1970s appeared to involve both generational changes (cohort replacement effects) and individ- ual change. For the late 1970s and into the 1980s, what change has occurred is almost entirely a product of cohort replacement. What factors are responsible for changes in Americans' attitudes toward black-white relations? We identify three basic social forces: alterations in social context (historical change), individual modification of attitudes, and cohort replacement. Change over time in attitudes, whether positive or negative in direction, can be brought about through a process of demo- graphic or cohort replacement, or it can be brought about by modifications in individual attitudes. In the former case, older generations who have one set of attitudes are replaced by younger people who hold a different set of attitudes. In the case of individual change, a person who expressed a partic- ular attitude at one time changes to a different position at a later time. For example, previous studies of white attitudes (Hymen and Sheatsley, 1964; Schuman et al., 1985; Taylor et al., 1978) found that change during 117

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY the 1960s and early 1970s involved both cohort replacement and individual change. But Schuman and colleagues (1985) reported that positive change recorded in the late 1970s was mainly a product of cohort replacement. They also found that the difference between the very youngest cohorts and other recent cohorts had narrowed. Thus, recently, even cohort replacement was weakening as a mechanism for producing change in whites' attitudes toward blacks. WHITE ATTITUDES The Scientific American Reports Until fairly recently the most widely known and best studies of change in racial attitudes were based almost exclusively on data collected in early sur- veys by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) and reported in a series of articles published in Scientific American. The first of these articles (Hymen and Sheatsley, 1956) focused on issues of desegregation, reporting particularly on change between 1942 and 1956 in attitudes toward desegre- gation of schools, housing, and public transportation. On each of these issues there was evidence of increasing support for desegregation. Hyman and Sheatsley also reported that there were often large differences between North and South: there was majority sentiment for desegregation by north- erners and for continued segregation by southerners. Also, younger people were more likely than older people to favor desegregation, and highly edu- cated people were more open to desegregation than were people with low levels of education. The age differences and the apparent effects of education provided grounds for expecting that further change would occur as younger, better educated individuals "replaced" older, less educated individuals. Hyman and Sheatsley suggested that attitudes were importantly linked to actual social conditions. Thus, where segregation existed without significant challenge, the attitudes reflected such conditions. They did not find that many Americans sensed a moral dilemma on race issues. They tried to examine Myrdal's (1944) concern with the contradiction between American values and the treatment of blacks by asking a question on whether or not blacks were being treated fairly. As they explained (Hymen and Sheatsley, 1956:39~: Certainly a study of the comments people make in answering the questions reveals little soul-searching, hesitation or feeling of guilt. Many declare: "They're being treated too doggone good." Respondents remark: "Just look around you. They are being given every opportunity for progress that they never had before. " These results notwithstanding, there were two key reasons at that time to think that further change was probable. First, belief in the innate intellectual inferiority of blacks, a fundamental ideological factor in the case for segrega- tion, had greatly declined between 1942 and 1956, falling from roughly 60 118

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RACIAL ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS percent to just over 20 percent. Second, the survey findings suggested that positive change in attitudes followed the implementation of concrete social change. The large sample sizes of the surveys allowed the analysts to divide south- ern communities into areas that had desegregated their schools, those that were moving in the direction of doing so, and those that were adamantly resisting change. They found the more change that had already taken place, the more positive were the attitudes toward school desegregation. Thus, 31 percent of respondents in areas with desegregated schools supported deseg- regation, compared with 17 percent in areas just beginning to take steps toward desegregation and only 4 percent in areas resisting desegregation. Some areas were probably more receptive to desegregation than others to begin with, but none even approached majority support. Hyman and Sheats- ley did not argue that overwhelming opposition to change could be readily converted, but rather that where openness to racial change existed among at least a substantial minority of whites, it was likely that leaders could act to . ,~ . . . . ntluence majority opmlon. The second article in the series (Hymen and Sheatsley, 1964) stressed many of the same points. In particular, it noted that the growing pace and intensity of the civil rights struggle had not slowed improvement in attitudes toward desegregating the schools, public transportation, and housing. The pace of change in attitudes from 1956 to 1963 was, in fact, faster than the pace of change had been between 1942 and 1956. For example, support among southern whites for school desegregation rose from 2 percent to 14 percent between 1942 and 1956, an increase of 12 points in 14 years; between 1956 and 1963, support for desegregation went from 14 percent to 30 percent, an increase of 16 points in just 7 years. Hyman and Sheatsley reported that change was not simply a function of younger, better educated people replac- ing older, poorly educated people: many people who had supported segre- gation at an earlier time had, at least in terms of their verbal replies to survey questions, changed to support for desegregation. Hyman and Sheatsley again stressed that opinion bore an important con- nection to prevailing social conditions. Their 1963 data confirmed important differences among southern communities. Support for school desegregation ranged from a high of 54 percent in areas that had implemented desegrega- tion, to 38 percent in areas that had made only token steps in that direction, to 28 percent in those areas where the schools remained segregated. In this case Hyman and Sheatsley were more certain than earlier that action by public officials had probably encouraged attitude change rather than the other way around. In a subtle manner, the content and tenor of the Scientific American reports on racial attitudes changed as key social issues and events in the nation changed. While the first two articles stressed the strength of a positive trend in racial attitudes, the third article in the series (Greeley and Sheatsley, 1971) was also more directly and extensively concerned with the issue of "white backlash." Key questions used in the earlier analyses continued to show 119

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY positive change, especially in the South. The overall level of support for desegregated public transportation was so high, 88 percent in 1970, that the question could not be used to elicit evidence of much further change. On the basis of these data, Greeley and Sheatsley saw little support for the idea that a white backlash against racial progress had arisen. Only among poorly educated "white ethnics" did they find any indication of a backlash, and even those effects were not large (Bobo, 1987a). The fourth and most recent article in the series (Taylor et al., 1978) found little support for the white backlash hypothesis. Indeed, this article reported just the opposite, a remarkable "liberal leap" forward between 1970 and 1972 followed by steady positive change between 1972 and 1976. The sharp upturn in support for racial desegregation in the early 1970s was matched by similar upturns in positive attitudes on social and civil liberties. Thus, Taylor and colleagues argued that more favorable racial attitudes were part of a general and robust trend in public opinion. Although the replacement of older cohorts by younger cohorts and the increasing average level of educa- tion were important factors in the trend, much of the observed change involved individual changes in attitudes, not just cohort replacement. In sum, from the early 1940s to the late 1970s there were important shifts in white attitudes, from widespread belief that blacks were born less intelli- gent than whites to the belief that the races were of equal intelligence and from majority support for segregation of public places, schools, and housing to majority support for equal treatment. Even assuming that social pressures for "correct" answers affected responses and that attitudes were only tenu- ously connected to behavior, the change had been impressive. One analyst characterized this research as having shown such sweeping progress that questions on some issues, for example, desegregation of public transportation and of schools, had become obsolete; that the survey data provided no support for the white backlash hypothesis; that changes in racial attitudes were closely linked to the liberalization of public opinion on other issues; and that both cohort replacement and individual change in attitudes contributed to the trends documented in the Scenic American reports (Seeman, 1981:394~. However, the consistency, unambiguity, and comprehensiveness of the changes documented in these studies were not completely replicated by other studies. Condran's (1979) analysis of the NORC data for five questions asked in 1963, 1972, and 1977 suggested that change from 1972 to 1977 had not been as consistently positive as had the change from 1963 to 1972. He also found that on questions concerning residential integration and on those that asked if blacks should "push" themselves where they were not wanted, younger age cohorts were less positive than older cohorts. He concluded that much of the positive change in racial attitudes may have involved only verbal adherence to newly institutionalized racial norms and that certainly "the liberals of 1977 [had] less reason to be sanguine concern- ing white American racial attitudes than their counterparts of 1972" (Con- dran, 1979:475~. 120

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RACIAL ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS In addition, the widespread controversies over school busing, opposition to some affirmative action plans, and the continuing pervasiveness of residen- tial segregation also raised questions about the meaning of the changes reported in the Scientific American reports. In an article published separately from the Sc~enujic American reports, Greeley and Sheatsley (1974) directly addressed the extent and implications of whites' opposition to school bus- ing. Fewer than one-fifth of whites in 1972 favored "the busing of black and white school children from one school district to another. " Yet, Greeley and Sheatsley noted, blacks were far from uniform in their attitudes toward school busing, and whites' support for the principle of school desegregation continued to grow. They concluded that opposition to busing could not be reduced to simple racism. They did note that the crucial race issues had shifted from matters of broad principles to the far more problematic issues "of the practical policies which most effectively will achieve racial justice" (Greeley and Sheatsley, 1974:249~. Social Distance Social distance preferences further complicate the picture of change. These questions pose hypothetical social settings that vary in racial composition. Respondents are asked to indicate whether they would take part in such settings, withdraw from such settings, or in other ways respond positively or negatively. Three of these questions pertain to willingness to allow one's children to attend schools with different numbers of black students, ranging from a few, to about half, to more than half. The National Opinion Research Center and Gallup have used nearly identical versions of these questions. The Gallup data provide the longer series, the questions having first been asked in a survey in 1958. At that point 75 percent of whites said they would not object to sending their children to a school in which a few of the students were black; 50 percent said they would have no objection to a school in which half of the students were black. Responses to all three questions show positive change over time. But, the increase in openness to desegregated schooling is much lower when the question specifies that most of the children in the school would be black. In addition, the educational and regional differentials are more pronounced for the "few" and "half black" questions than for the "most" question (see Table 3-1 and pages 125-127; see also Smith, 1981~. The patterns of results are largely similar when the questions pertain to residential areas and housing. Two questions address contact under circum- stances in which blacks would be the clear minority ("next door" and "same blocky; one implies a more substantial black presence in the neighborhood ("great numbers". As is true for schools, the number of blacks mentioned in the question has an important effect on white openness to interracial contact. Thus, when asked in 1958, "If black people came to live next door, would you move," 56 percent of whites said they would not move. But when 121

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A COMMON DESTI NY: BLACKS AN D AMERICAN SOCI ETY tudes. Accordingly, one line of interpretation is to examine how concrete policy implementation of general principles may entail contradictory or com- peting values. Several of the important questions used in national surveys concerning implementation of principles of equality explicitly invoke action by the federal government. Hence, if respondents endorse the principle but reject the hypothetical governmental intervention, the responses might not indi- cate a "superficial" or merely symbolic orientation, but, rather, a principled objection to the use of federal power. More generally, it has been proposed that there is a genuine consensus among present-day American whites that racial discrimination should not be practiced or approved. For many Ameri- cans, however, this consensus does not extend to policies for implementa- tion that involve compulsion. This situation is thought to express a contra- diction between values of equality and values of individual freedom (Lipset end Schneider, 1978; Rokeach, 1983~. This interpretation gains plausibility from the historical prominence of a clash between "equality" and "free- dom" in American political attitudes and behavior. Since at least the time of Alexis de Tocqueville (1835), commentaries on American life have stressed the prominence, and sometimes the complexity, of beliefs and values of individualism and concepts of liberty (Bellah et al., 1985; Williams, 1970:Ch. XI). The early traditions were those of religious and political individualism, with emphasis on individual moral value and responsibility, coupled with claims to freedom from imposed authority. These traditions were also subtly connected with a kind of utilitarianism that sometimes turned into a preoccupation with self-interest narrowly conceived (Davis, 1975:353-73~. Hence, individualism can lead to easy justification of self-interest, to opposition to "welfare state" policies, and to rejection of affirmative action policies. A plausible hypothesis is that American individualistic values favor univer- salistic competition-"May the best person win"-while regarding disadvan- taged status as one's own fault. Attitudes of whites toward the condition of blacks and toward race-related public policies seem to be substantially related to how racial differences are explained. In general, Americans are sympathetic to inequality only to the extent that they perceive that inequality to be "undeserved." Whites tend to deny that race is currently a social problem and, therefore, believe that blacks themselves are responsible for the remaining socioeconomic differences between the races (Bobo, 1987a; Williams, 1988~. Blacks, to a much greater extent, believe that race is still very much a social problem in America and therefore believe that systematic barriers limit their chances in life. These beliefs help explain why blacks and whites differ so sharply in levels of support for equal opportunity policies such as affirmative action and why, in particular, white opposition to such policies is so high. In The Anatomy of Dial Attitudes Apostle and colleagues (1983) demon- strate that there is utility in grounding surveys of attitudes in a format that allows respondents to explain their reasons for holding given beliefs and attitudes. From a sample of 500 white persons in the San Francisco Bay area, 150

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RACIAL ATTITUDES AN D BEHAVIORS their study elicited explanations of the racial attitudes expressed, which were then related to the respondents' beliefs and prescriptions. The hypothesis that competing values affect attitudes toward racial social policy was found to help explain a considerable amount of the difference between endorse- ment of principle and implementation of orinciole in such areas as emolov ment and housing. In particular, those respondents who were classified as "individualists" by the researchers were the most likely to oppose institu- tional intervention against racial discrimination (Apostle et al., 1983:88-95, 110~. On the basis of surveys carried out in 1972, Sniderman and Hagen (1985) found that white Americans gave four main explanations for black-white inequality: individualistic (personal responsibility), fundamentalist (God's will), past discrimination (historical treatment), and deliberate economic exploitation (radical). The predominant view, held by about 60 percent of a nationwide sample, is individualistic. If asked spontaneously to explain the causes of social and economic inequality between blacks and whites, most whites emphasize a lack of effort by blacks (Kluegel and Smith, 1986; Schu- man, 1971~; if asked to choose the single most important reason among a set of possible causes, the individualistic factor is the one most likely to be chosen (Apostle et al., 1983; Sniderman and Hagen, 1985~. These individ- ualistic explanations of black-white inequality support the view that govern- ment has no role to play in improving the status of blacks. The individualistic emphasis also contributes to an underestimation of the extent of black-white inequality and to exaggeration of the effects of equal opportunity or affir- mative action-type programs. For example, 53 percent of whites in a 1980 national survey perceived blacks to benefit from "some" or "a lot" of reverse discrimination (Kluegel and Smith, 1986~. The views of black Americans differ sharply. The 1980 national survey found that 53 percent of blacks but only 26 percent of whites believed that blacks face significant discrimination (Kluegel and Smith, 1986~. A 1981 national survey found that 65 percent of blacks rejected the claim that a lack of motivation or effort was responsible for black-white inequality, compared with 40 percent of whites (Bobo, 1987a). Blacks also appear to differ from whites in what they mean by discrimina- tion. Even whites who think discrimination contributes to black-white in- equality tend to view it as a problem created and maintained by prejudiced individuals. Blacks view discrimination as a result of both prejudiced individ- uals and broader social processes (Bobo, 1987a; Kluegel and Smith, 1986~. It is tempting to consider the competing values hypothesis as a resolution of the problem of the principle-implementation gap. However, it is not the entire story. First, and most important, it ignores the third basic finding from studies of white attitudes and beliefs concerning equal treatment in race relations: whites want considerable social distance from blacks. And, especially with regard to housing, the evidence shows that many whites will go to considerable efforts to maintain that distance. Thus, there is not only a gap between principle and implementation to be explained, but also a gap 151

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY between support for principles and willingness to practice equalitarian prin- ciples on a personal level. THE MEAN I NG OF RACIAL EQUALITY The explanation for the principle-implementation gap may depend on the question of what those who say they endorse the principles of racial equality and integration mean by those terms. One answer is that they have in mind some conception of American pluralism-the peaceful and equal participa- tion of different groups in the democratic polity. But, as discussed above, pluralism in America carries with it claims for the primacy of liberty as well as equality. Some people surely would agree with the economist Milton Friedman that the principle of equal treatment should be endorsed and practiced but that individuals should have the personal right to practice differential treatment, because to compel them otherwise would be an in- fringement of their liberty (Friedman, 1962: 1 1 1) . For example, two racial intermarriage questions asked of respondents in the 1982 and 1983 General Social Surveys illustrate this point, as well as the importance of specific question wording. Although 66 percent of whites (in 1982) said they opposed laws against intermarriage, only 40 percent (in 1983) said they personally "approved" of racial intermarriage. Analogously, about two-thirds of whites (in 1977) said that they would not favor laws against interracial marriage, but three-fourths of the respondents said they would be either "very uneasy" or "somewhat uneasy" if a close relative were planning to marry a "Negro" If. Milton Yinger, 1986:12~. The differ- ence can be explained by noting that it is possible to personally object to a behavior or outcome without simultaneously feeling that others should be prevented from engaging in such behavior. Thus, it is possible that some whites may endorse the general principle that blacks have the right to live where they choose-and so reject the notion that groups of whites have the right to collectively prevent black desegregation of a neighborhood-and yet support each individual's right to live in a segregated neighborhood. More concretely, objections to government coercion do influence people's reactions to the issue of open housing laws (Schuman and Bobo, 1988) and possibly school busing (Taylor, 1986~. We might suppose, then, that there exists a three-directional ambivalence in the attitudes of many whites toward racial equality: support for it in principle, and support for it in practice, but only if certain preference boundaries are not overstepped-too many blacks or interracial contact is too close. The competing values hypothesis explains why whites can be in favor of equal treatment in principle but reject policies to implement it. But in using that hypothesis the issues have been too compartmentalized, for it ignores the expressed preferences of whites con- cerning black-white social distance. "Implementation" has multiple, concrete implications. While a policy may introduce competing values and allow an objection on grounds of principle-"forced busing violates individual liberty"-the same policy may 152

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RACIAL ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS also create a solution that results in an overstepping of many whites' prefer- ence boundaries, such as too great a proportion of blacks in the schools. It is difficult with the data available to sort out the independent effects of each. Whites are likely to stress the clash of principles, but blacks will be inclined to agree with the Reverend Jesse Jackson that "it's not the bus, it's us. " GROUP STATUS Changes in the status of one group often lead to intensified competition with another group (Brewer and Kramer, 1985:223-226~. And some inter- group behavior in black-white contacts, especially public confrontations, is due to real or perceived advances in blacks' status and fears among whites of losing an established and superior group position. The crucial role of defining and maintaining boundaries between groups has been documented in detail by experimental and observational studies (Brewer and Kramer, 1985; Stephan and Rosenfield, 1982~. These social boundaries are accentuated by perceived oppositions, and by threats, includ- ing expressions of hostility or negative evaluations by members of out- groups. For instance, black activism to advance group position may have played an important role in raising group consciousness among many whites. {ackman and Muha (1984) have focused the issue in terms of intergroup attitudes and ideologies as a mechanism of defending group status position. They hypothesize that claims based on group interests, as in preferential goals or quotas, are opposed by dominant groups (racial, gender, or class) on grounds of a principle of individual achievement. Jackman and Muha interpret the findings (from a national survey of 1,914 respondents) as re- vealing that well-educated whites show higher acceptance of racial integration and black rights as a sophisticated way of avoiding offense and confrontation by emphasizing individual rights, while evading commitment to group equality. "By upholding individualism as a guiding principle in the empirical and normative interpretation of social life, the rights of,qro?~ps are thus rendered illegitimate and unreasonable" and the status quo can be protected (lackman and Muha, 1984:760~. This argument rests on a single (1975) survey in which there is little information on the contextual meaning of responses and no direct link between those responses and group-level or institutional factors. Still, the Jackman-Muha interpretation of the data can- not be summarily dismissed. Some recent attempts to show a relationship between measures of individ- ualistic values and measures of attitudes on issues such as affirmative action have produced unexpected results. Attitudes toward affirmative action poli- cies tended to be more highly correlated with attitudes toward equalitarian values than with individualistic values (Bobo, 1989; Kinder and Sanders, 1987; Sears, 1988~. This finding has been interpreted to mean that for many people low levels of support for affirmative action flow more from low levels of commitment to equality and a lack of awareness of social structural causes of inequality (coupled with prejudice) than from a high commitment to 153

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY individualistic values. This research will doubtless be subjected to close re- view in the near future, and it will need replication in more studies before its full implications are understood. Of relevance to these issues is a body of research in social psychology that provides explanations of how people explain a social phenomenon such as black-white inequality. Attribution theory (Fiske and Taylor, 1984; Heider, 1958) focuses primarily on how people develop explanatory accounts of interpersonal behavior. The two major types of causes are external, such as an environmental constraint or pressure to behave in a particular way, and internal, indicative of the underlying dispositions of the individual. Of course, many behaviors involve combinations of the two kinds of causes. The way in which a phenomenon is explained largely determines the meaning it has for a person. An outcome lacking a systematic, controllable cause differs from an outcome for which a clear social process or individual action can be pinpointed as the cause. Furthermore, outcomes rooted in a social force have different implications for ameliorative efforts than those rooted in a . . persona . intention. The views of both whites and blacks may reflect what has been termed the "fundamental attribution error" (Tones and Nisbett, 1972~. Experimentally controlled studies of the attribution process routinely find that observers systematically overestimate the extent to which an actor's behavior is attrib- utable to internal causes and systematically underestimate the importance of external causes. This tendency to overattribute to internal causes and to underestimate the importance of external environmental causes appears to be especially likely when judging a disliked out-group (Pettigrew, 1979~. This general psychological bias toward dispositional attributions when joined with possible self-interest motivations to protect a historically privi- leged group status may reflect a reasoned opposition of some whites to black advancement. In addition, the traditional American belief that the country is a land of abundant opportunity for those who want to work hard is another important contributor to low levels of support for equal opportunity policies (Kluegel and Smith, 1986~. The fundamental attribution error may be more characteristic of societies with individualistic achievement orienta- tions than those without such cultural beliefs. The crucial theoretical point is that long-standing and general beliefs about how society does and should allocate important social rewards affect both how racial inequality is per- ceived and how it is explained. As a result, attitudes toward policies to affect black inequality are also affected by these beliefs about why that inequality occurs. Beliefs that existing differences are based on individual merit may lead to opposition to policies such as affirmative action. Data do not allow us to determine whether the beliefs and perceptions of blacks or those of whites are more veridical. There is no doubt a measure of self-interest in the perceptions of both groups. The motivational factors behind the behaviors of whites and blacks are not a simple matter of values versus self-interest; both elements are at work. 154

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RACIAL ATTITUDES AN D BEHAVIORS CONCLUSIONS These findings lead us to four general conclusions. The foremost conclu- sion is that race still matters greatly in the United States. Much of the evidence reviewed in this report indicates widespread attitudes of societal racism. This is not to gainsay convincing evidence of improving racial atti- tudes: a transformation of basic racial norms in the United States is the clearest finding from the survey trend data (Schuman et al., 1985; Smith and Sheatsley, 1984~. The once widespread acceptance of segregation and discrimination as the guiding principles of black-white relations has given way to acceptance of the principles of desegregation and equal treatment. There are reasons to believe that this change extends beyond mere lip service or token and transitory forms of social contact. The second major conclusion regarding racial attitudes is thus a record of genuine progress. Yet, a reluctance to live in racially mixed neighborhoods and interpersonal awkwardness and racially differential treatment across many situations all point to the persistence of race as an important factor in American society. Although each of the phenomena mentioned also has causes that are frequently unrelated to race, such as social status differences and political values, a direct concern with race is substantially implicated in each outcome. Our third major conclusion, then, is that in the midst of progress there remain significant forms of resistance to a variety of proposals for racial change. It would be erroneous, however, to reduce the American racial pattern of progress and resistance to purely racial causes. A number of traditional values, which are not in and of themselves race related, play an important role. The values of liberty, equality, justice, and fairness are an inevitable component of any attempt to comprehend racial attitudes and relations in the United States. Values such as individualism affect not only how people perceive and explain black-white inequality, but also the likelihood of sup- porting policies aimed at affecting group statuses. Our fourth major conclu- sion is thus that a number of value-based concerns affect the observed patterns of racial progress and resistance. The connections between attitudes and actual behavior are exceedingly complicated. White attitudes concerning black-white relations have moved appreciably toward endorsement of principles of equal treatment. Yet there remain important signs of continuing resistance to full equality of black Americans: principles of equality are endorsed less when social contact is close, of long duration, or frequent and when it involves significant numbers of blacks; whites are much less prone to endorse policies to implement equal participation of blacks in society. These findings suggest that a considerable amount of remaining black- white inequality is due to continuing discriminatory treatment of blacks. However, direct evidence of systematic discriminatory behavior by whites is difficult to obtain. The best evidence is in the area of residential housing. Discrimination against blacks seeking housing has been conclusively demon 155

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY strafed. How much the important example of the housing market indicates discrimination in other areas, such as the labor market, is tempered by the fact that residential segregation is very high on whites' "rank order of dis- crimination." Nonetheless, the overall preponderance of evidence indicates that the existence of significant discrimination against blacks is still a feature of American society. REFERENCES Apostle, Richard A., Charles Y. Glock, Thomas Piazza, and Marijean Suelzle 1983 The Anatomy of Racial Attitudes. Berkeley: University of California Press. Arrow, Kenneth J. 1963 Social Choice and Individual Valises. 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Bellah, Robert, Richard Madsen, William M. Sullivan, Anne Swidler, and Steven M. Tipton 1985 Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life. Berkeley: University of California Press. Bobo, Lawrence 1987a Racial Attitudes and the Status of Black Americans: A Social Psychological View of Change Since the 1940s. Paper prepared for the Committee on the Status of Black Americans, National Research Council, Washington, D.C. 1987b Race in the Minds of Black and White Americans. Paper prepared for the Committee on the Status of Black Americans, National Research Council, Wash- ington, D.C. 1989 Memorandum to the Committee on the Status of Black Americans, National Research Council, Washington, D.C. Brewer, M. B., and R. M. Kramer 1985 The psychology of intergroup attitudes. Annual Renew of Psychology 36:219-243. Campbell, Angus 1971 White Attitudes Towards Black People. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Institute for Social Research. Campbell, Angus, and Howard Schuman 1968 Racial attitudes in fifteen American cities. Pp. 1-67 in Supplemental Studies for the National Advisory Committee on Civil Disorders. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Govern- ment Printing Office. Cavanagh, Thomas 1985 Inside Black America: The Message of the Black Vote in the 1984 Elections. Washing- ton, D.C.: Joint Center for Political Studies. Condran, John G. 1979 Changes in white attitudes towards blacks: 1963-1977. Public Opinion Quarterly 43 (Winter) :463-476. Davis, David Brion 1975 The Problem of Slavery in the Ape of Revolution. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. Davis, James A., and Tom W. Smith 1987 General Social Surveys, 1972-1987. Machine readable data file. National Opin- ion Research Center, Chicago, Ill. Denisoff, R. Serge, anti Ralph Wahrman 1979 An Introduction to Sociology. 2d ed. New York: Macmillan. 156

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RACIAL ATTITU DES AN D BEHAVIORS de Tocqueville, Alexis 1835 Democracy in Amer?ca. Reprinted 1966. New York: Harper & Row. DuBois, William E. B. 1899 The Philadelphia Ne,gro: A Social Study. Reissued (1973), Millwood, N.Y.: Kraus- Thomson Organization Limited. Farley, Reynolds 1984 Blacks and Whites. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Farley, Reynolds, Suzanne Bianchi, and Diane Colosanto 1980 Barriers to the racial integration of neighborhoods, the Detroit case. Annals of the American Academy of Politicaland Social Science 444(January):97-113. Farley, Reynolds, Shirley Hatchett, and Howard Schuman 1979 A note on changes in black racial attitudes in Detriot: 1968-1976. Social Indicators Research 6:439 413. Farley, ~ 1 l *t Hatchett 1978 Chocolate city, vanilla suburbs: will the trend toward racially separate communi- ties continue? Social Science Research 7(December): 3 19-344. Featherman, David L., and Robert M. Hauser 1978 Opportunity and Change, New York: Academic Press. Fiske Susan T. and Shellev E. Tavlor Reynolds, Howard Schuman, Suzanne Bianchi' Diane Colosanto, and Shirley . ~ , ~ ~ _ , _ En, 1984 Social Cognition. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley. Friedman, Milton 1962 Capitalism and Freedom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Greeley, Andrew M., and Paul B. Sheatsley 1971 Attitudes towards racial integration. Scientific American 225:13-19. 1974 Attitudes towards racial integration. In Lee Rainwater, ea., Inequality and Justice. Chicago: Aldine. Harris, Louis 1987 The Harris Surrey. Orlando, Fla.: The Tribune Media Services, Inc. Hawley, Amos Henry, and Vincent P. Rock 1973 Segregation in Racial Areas. Division of Behavioral Sciences, National Research Council. Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences. Haworth, J. G., J. D. Gwartney, and C. Haworth 1975 Earnings productivity and changes in employment discrimination during the 1960's. American Economic Re~v 6542~[March]:158-168. Heider, Fritz 1958 The Psychology of Interpersonal Relations. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Hyman, Herbert H., and Paul Sheatsley 1956 Attitudes towards desegregation. Scientific American 195(December):35-39. 1964 Attitudes towards desegregation . Scientific American 21 1 (1) fJuly]: 16-23 . Jackman, Mary R. 1978 General and applied tolerance: does education increase commitment to racial integration? American Journal of Political Science 22: 302-324. Jackman, Mary R., and Michael J. Muha 1984 Education and intergroup attitudes: moral enlightenment, superficial democratic commitment or ideological refinement? American Sociological Re~v 49:751-769. Jones, Edward E., and Richard E. Nisbett 1972 The actor and the observer: divergent perceptions of the causes of behavior. In Edward E. Jones, D. Kamouse, Harold H. Kelley, Richard E. Nisbett, S. Valins, and Bernard Weiner. Attribution: Percez~g the Gooses of Behavior, Morristown, N.J.: General Learning Press. 157

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