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A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society (1989)

Chapter: Racial Attitudes and Behavior

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Suggested Citation:"Racial Attitudes and Behavior." National Research Council. 1989. A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1210.
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Suggested Citation:"Racial Attitudes and Behavior." National Research Council. 1989. A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1210.
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Suggested Citation:"Racial Attitudes and Behavior." National Research Council. 1989. A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1210.
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Suggested Citation:"Racial Attitudes and Behavior." National Research Council. 1989. A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1210.
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Suggested Citation:"Racial Attitudes and Behavior." National Research Council. 1989. A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1210.
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Suggested Citation:"Racial Attitudes and Behavior." National Research Council. 1989. A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1210.
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Suggested Citation:"Racial Attitudes and Behavior." National Research Council. 1989. A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1210.
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Suggested Citation:"Racial Attitudes and Behavior." National Research Council. 1989. A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1210.
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Suggested Citation:"Racial Attitudes and Behavior." National Research Council. 1989. A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1210.
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Suggested Citation:"Racial Attitudes and Behavior." National Research Council. 1989. A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1210.
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Suggested Citation:"Racial Attitudes and Behavior." National Research Council. 1989. A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1210.
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Suggested Citation:"Racial Attitudes and Behavior." National Research Council. 1989. A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1210.
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Suggested Citation:"Racial Attitudes and Behavior." National Research Council. 1989. A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1210.
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Suggested Citation:"Racial Attitudes and Behavior." National Research Council. 1989. A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1210.
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Suggested Citation:"Racial Attitudes and Behavior." National Research Council. 1989. A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1210.
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Suggested Citation:"Racial Attitudes and Behavior." National Research Council. 1989. A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1210.
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Suggested Citation:"Racial Attitudes and Behavior." National Research Council. 1989. A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1210.
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Suggested Citation:"Racial Attitudes and Behavior." National Research Council. 1989. A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1210.
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RACIAL ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOR 113

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY asked about moving "if black people came to live in great numbers in your neighborhood," 20 percent said they would not move, 29 percent said they might move, and 51 percent said they definitely would move. This difference in levels of openness to interracial contact is present at the most recent time for these two questions (1978) and is slightly larger than it was in 1958. Although 86 percent in 1978 said they would not move if black people lived next door to them, only 46 percent said they would not move if large numbers of blacks were in the neighborhood. All three of the social distance questions concerned with residential contact undergo positive change. This result is surprising for the "great numbers" question, which otherwise behaves very much like the question on majority black schools; both show low absolute levels of support and are not strongly related to level of education. For the two questions involving just a few blacks ("same block" and "next door"), people who have more education express greater openness to interracial contact than those with less education. In sum, the social distance questions that pertain to smaller numbers of blacks undergo change and relate to region and education in much the same way as do principle-type questions, such as "same schools." When larger numbers of blacks are mentioned-in particular, if blacks are stated to be a clear majority-the results more closely parallel those for the policy imple- mentation-type questions, such as school busing (see below). SOCIAL POLICY, SOCIAL CONTEXT, AN D RACIAL ATTITUDES Greeley and Sheatsley (1974) suggested that the shift in emphasis from matters of principle to matters of practical social policy was the decisive change in racial issues in the 1970s. The most recent of the Scientif c American articles (Taylor et al., 1978) did not emphasize this important shift, how- ever, presumably because the task was to trace change with items included in the early surveys. Thus, sustained attention to attitudes on policies on race issues was largely lacking until recently (Campbell [1971] is an excep- tion). One trend study of black-white attitudes that did move beyond the types of questions relied on in the Scientific American reports to include questions on policy changes concluded that the basic patterns of change were indeed more complex. This study (Schuman et al., 1985) differed from the Scientific American reports in three aspects. First, in addition to the NORC data, Schuman and colleagues also relied on data collected by the Institute for Social Research (ISR) at the University of Michigan and data collected by the Gallup organi- zation. Thus, three major sources of trend data on racial attitudes were considered. Second, this more comprehensive coverage of data resources allowed consideration of two additional types of questions that played little or no part in the NORC surveys. Results for these additional questions differ from results obtained for the types of questions in the NORC surveys. Third, Schuman and colleagues also examined change in the racial attitudes of blacks and compared them with results for whites. 124

RACIAL ATTITU DES AN D B EHAVIO RS Schuman and colleagues examined trends for racial attitude questions that had been asked in national sample surveys in identical (or near identical) form at 2 or more times and spanned at least a 10-year period over the years from 1942 to 1983. These criteria resulted in a pool of 32 questions. The questions were placed into three groupings: those concerned with racial principles, those concerned with the implementation of principles, and those concerned with social distance preferences. Racial principle questions addressed attitudes about the general goals of integration and equal treatment of the races; they did not cover what steps or policies should be undertaken to achieve these ends. Implementation questions addressed the steps that might be taken, usually by the federal government, to put the principles regarding; black-white relations into con . A. . . .. crere practice. fine sonar distance questions-asked only of whites-con- cerned personal willingness to take part in social settings involving contact with varying numbers of blacks. The conceptual categories not only high- lighted differences in the content of the questions, but also showed that different types of questions had different patterns of change over time. Table 3-1 shows the results for the main questions used by Schuman and colleagues for blacks and whites. Each question is given the same descriptive content label used by Schuman and colleagues. The questions are organized into the three major conceptual categories and a residual miscellaneous category. Dates for the first and most recent times questions were asked are presented along with the percentage of re- spondents giving the more pro desegregation response at the most recent time questions were asked. Also shown is a difference score as a rough indicator of overall change. In some instances the most recent figures we report, and thus the difference scores, differ from those reported by Schu- man and colleagues because more recent data are now available. Focusing first on the results for whites, all of the racial principle questions show positive change. For example, the question labeled "same schools," which spans the period from 1942 to 1982, has moved 58 points in a pro desegregation direction. This change reflects substantial movement in a pro desegregation direction. This change occurred both in and outside the South. Furthermore, there is considerable narrowing of the gap between those with high and low levels of education. This question can be treated as the prototypical racial principle item. The principle questions typically involved large positive change over time, re- gional convergence as the North reached a ceiling and the South continued to change, and a narrowing of educational differences over time. By the end of the series, most of these questions revealed very high absolute levels of support for the pro desegregation response. The results do vary, however, by subject matter and by wording of the question. Support for school desegregation thus attains a much higher ab- solute level than does opposition to laws that forbid racial intermarriage. So it is clear that whites do not uniformly give the socially desirable response to racial principle questions. Still, the Scientific Am~can reports are based al 125

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY most exclusively on results for principle-type questions. An examination of trends in response to implementation questions qualifies the portrait of . . . positive change Support for the implementation of principles of equalitarian black-white relations has been much less than support for the principles themselves. Moreover, support for implementation policies has seldom shown as much positive change as has support for the principles. Although the implementa- tion questions usually do not span as many years as the principle items, there ~ . . , are several such questions that closely parallel several principle items in wording and that involve considerable overlap in the time points covered by the two types of questions. The most striking case of divergence in trends between principle and implementation involves the questions of "federal school intervention" and "same schools": the former asks whether or not the federal government should become involved in efforts to desegregate the schools; the latter asks if black and white school children should attend the same schools. Although support for the principle of desegregated schools ("same schools") rose by 22 points from 1964 to 1977-1978 (the period of years for which there are data on both questions), support for federal efforts to implement this prin- ciple declined by 17 points. This decline occurred when the real-world context of the question was changing considerably. In 1964, desegregation of schools was primarily focused on the South and involved the dismantling of separate school systems that had been created and maintained under state laws. By the early 1970s, school desegregation was focused on the North, and federal involvement was symbolized by busing children to and from schools in segregated residential areas. These changes no doubt affected the 17-point decline. And, indeed, Schuman and colleagues reported that the decline was restricted almost entirely to the North, clearly involved change at the individual level, and occurred in the post-1972 period. The decline thus occurred after the introduction of mandatory desegregation and busing in the North. Further analysis showed that the decline in support for the implementation of school desegregation is not attributable to confusion between questions of the goal of school desegregation and of the use of federal authority; trust in the federal government, although it may contrib- ute to the low absolute level of support for implementation, does not affect the trend (Bobo, 1987a). A gap also exists between support for principles and support for implemen- tation with regard to questions on job opportunities ("equal jobs" and "federal job intervention"), residential desegregation ("residential choice" and "open housing"), and access to public accommodations ("same accom- modations" and "accommodations interventions. None of these pairings show the sharp divergence in trends observed for the questions on schools. In particular, support for the implementation of rights for blacks to freely use hotels and restaurants and to live wherever they choose did increase over time. But the trends were not as strong as those for comparable principle items, and a substantial gap in support remained. 126

RACIAL ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS The importance of the distinction between principle and implementation is underscored by differences in the responses to these questions by educa- tional level and region. Schuman and colleagues found that education usually had small or no effects on implementation questions (see also Jackman, 1978; {ackman and Muha, 1984~. Two exceptions were the open housing question and the accommodations intervention question; as noted above, these were the two implementation questions that showed positive change. In addition, regional differences were usually smaller for questions of imple- mentation than for questions of principle. But as we observed earlier, attitudes may change if the social context changes. This holds for reactions to issues of policy implementation as well as to matters of principle. Recent reports have indicated that the degree of opposition to school busing among whites has declined (Harris, 1987; Schu- man and Bobo, 1988~. Our analysis confirms that resistance to school busing is less extreme than in the past. Table 3-2 shows the percentage of blacks and whites expressing opposition to school busing in General Social Surveys between 1972 and 1986. Blacks are always more likely to favor busing than whites, but both groups show a slight overall decline in opposition to school busing. This change occurs in the post-1978 period and to a larger degree among whites. Table 3-3 shows the percentage of whites opposed to school busing by both region of the country and age. These data indicate that the change among whites occurred mainly in the post-1978 period, with the decline emerging most clearly in 1985 and 1986. The decline in opposition to school busing is somewhat larger among those in the 18- to 27-year-old age range. Among the youngest age group in both the North and South, more than one-third express support for school busing. The change is also larger in the South than in the North for three of the four age categories. A small tendency for greater opposition to school busing in the South has disap- peared. That these positive changes occur in response to a question that asks about "the busing of black and white school children from one district to another" should be underscored. This question poses one of the stronger versions of busing: it implies busing both blacks and whites and potentially crossing district boundaries. The positive trend may suggest considerable underlying attitude change. In general, it is a well-established finding that the exact wording of questions influences responses; that is, people do not respond to an abstract underlying issue or concept but to a question as posed (Schuman and Kalton, 1985; Turner and Martin, 1984~. For example, Schuman and Bobo (1988) found in a 1985 national telephone survey that support for school busing among whites was higher than 40 percent when the question referred to busing blacks to predominantly white schools. That the observed change occurs disproportionately among younger and southern whites is consistent with the claim that actual experience with school desegregation and busing is weakening the previously solid wall of white opposition to this method of desegregating schools. 127

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY BLACK ATTITUDES Support f or Principles and l mplementat~on olives _ . .. . Data on the racial attitudes of blacks are sparser than those for whites in two respects. First, most national sample surveys contain only 150-250 black respondents, compared with 1,200 or more white respondents. As a result, data for blacks are not as statistically reliable as the data for whites, and it is usually impractical to examine differences by region and level of education. Second, many of the questions for which trend data are available were not asked of blacks until quite recently. However, the broad national trends themselves are important and reliable. From the earliest point at which they were asked racial principle-type questions, nearly 100 percent of blacks have endorsed the principles of school integration, rights to free residential choice, and nondiscriminatory voting ("black candidates. Only when questioned about their personal approval of interracial marriage did any appreciable number of blacks take the anti equal-treatment position, and even in this case, the overwhelming majority response was one of support for freedom of interracial marriage (Table 3-1~. In contrast, several of the implementation questions have undergone neg- ative change from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s. Like whites, blacks show a decline in support for federal involvement in school desegregation efforts. But unlike whites (for whom no change took place), blacks show declines in support for federal efforts to prevent job discrimination ("federal job interventionism (see Table 3-1~. Schuman and colleagues (1985) also pooled the black data for several of the early surveys and compared them to pooled data for several of the later surveys. This procedure resulted in sufficiently large numbers of black respondents to allow breakdowns by region and education. The negative trends on implementation questions, by and large, occurred broadly rather than among any particular subgroup of blacks. In addition to these declines in support for the implementation of racial policies concerning black-white relations, the principle-implementation gap in responses also holds for blacks. The clearest instance of this gap for blacks, outside the area of school desegregation (where other complexities arise), involves the "residential choice" principle question (asked in 1976) and the "open housing" implementation question (asked in 1983~. When the free .. . . . . . . ~ . , , . ,, ,, ,, , ,~ residential choice principle question was asked, Mortuary an olacKs tv~ per- cent) gave the positive response; in contrast, 75 percent of blacks expressed support for an open housing law. The gap of about 25 percentage points for 1. Two possible artifactual sources of these declines were ruled out through analysis: the composition of the black samples in terms of region of the country and rural versus urban arenas of residence had not changed in ways that could have created the declines; race of the inter- viewer, which might well have varied systematically over time, did not affect responses to this type of question (Bobo, 1987a). 130

RACIAL ATTITU DES AN D BEHAVIORS blacks compares with a gap of 42 points for whites. Among whites, 88 percent supported the principle question and 46 percent supported imple- mentation through an open housing law. It is premature, if not clearly mistaken, to conclude that blacks are repu- a~aung government intervention In radar matters because they are basically satisfied with the civil rights accomplishments of the 1960s. For example, we suspect that declines in black support of implementation policies like school busing are related to white resistance and a feeling in the black community that costs of school desegregation are disproportionately borne by black pupils and their parents (see Chapter 2~. Also, blacks increasingly express skepticism that progress in civil rights is being made. In survey questionnaires, fewer and fewer blacks perceive that "a lot" of progress has been made, although few blacks adopt the most pessimistic response that "no progress" has been made. This contrasts to the results for whites who have, since 1968, increasingly said that "a lot" of progress is being made (Bobo, 1987a). 1 Black Alienation from White Society One of the clearest trends that emerges from studies of the attitudes of blacks is distrust and suspicion of white intentions and of predominantly white institutions. A litany of black grievances concerning the performance of various social and political institutions, as well as expectations of discrim- inatory or hostile treatment by whites, have been widely documented, es- pecially since the urban riots of the mid-1960s. For example, Sears and McConahay (1973:68) concluded that their study of Los Angeles [residents] demonstrated the existence in the black community of serious grievances about police brutality, merchant exploitation, agency discnmi- nation, poor service agency performance, local white political officials, and biases in white-managed communications media. These varied in intensity but in each case sizeable minorities expressed them. Each of the conven- tional mechanisms provided by our society to redress such grievances- individual stnving, normal administrative procedures, conventional politics, and nonviolent protest-appeared blocked to almost half the community. Most important, those who felt most aggrieved were exactly those who felt the conventional channels of redress were denied to them. Similarly, although with more attention to white intentions and interper- sonal treatment, Campbell and Schuman (1968:26) commented on their results from a survey of blacks in 15 cities that had experienced rioting: "The majority of Negroes expect little from whites other than hostility, opposi- tion, or at best indifference." Turner and Wilson (1976) analyzed data on 1,000 blacks surveyed in a large northern and a medium-sized southern city, and asked 50 attitude-perception questions. Their analysis found several distinct dimensions in these attitudes, the three strongest of which con- cerned "a general orientation expressing lack of trust and estrangement toward whites" (Turner and Wilson, 1976:145~. 131

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY Many blacks express feelings of alienation from whites and predominantly white social institutions. Schuman and Hatchett (1974) created what they termed an "alienation from white society index," on the basis of data on the racial attitudes of Detroit-area blacks. The index is based on black re- sponses to 11 questions dealing with whether individual whites and white institutions could be trusted, in particular, trusted to treat blacks fairly. Their analysis, based largely on 1968 and 1971 surveys conducted in Detroit and surrounding communities, indicated an increase in black alienation from 1968 to 1971. For example, the percentage of Detroit blacks thinking that most whites wanted to "keep blacks down" rose from 23 percent to 41 percent in those 3 years. Overall, they found fairly high levels of alienation, with the index scores for both years skewed toward high-though not ex- treme-black alienation. In 1976, 5 of the original 11 questions were repeated in another Detroit- area survey (see Farley et al., 1979~. Question wording and the percentage of blacks giving the most alienated response in each of three surveys are shown in Table 34. All five questions show increases in the more alienated response between 1968 and 1971, but only one shows a steady increase in the more alienated response through 1976 (i.e., the question labeled "pro- gress") . Both the 1979-1980 National Survey of Black Americans (NSBA) and the 1982 General Social Survey (GSS) included questions similar to those used by Schuman and Hatchett (1974) and that, correspondingly, tap the extent to which blacks believe that white individuals and institutions can or cannot be relied on to treat them fairly. Responses to five questions from the 1979- 1980 NSBA are shown in Table 3-5a, and responses to five questions from the 1982 GSS are shown in Table 3-5b. Nationwide, blacks were most optimistic about the trend in patterns of discrimination, with 65 percent believing there was less discrimination in the 1979-1982 period than 20 years earlier (NSBA "current discriminations; 58 percent believing that there would be less discrimination 20 years later (NSBA "future discrimina- tion"); 48 percent believing; that opportunities for blacks had improved in ~ ~ 1 , ~ . . ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ the previous ~ years t~5 --current opportunities ); ana ~c' percent expccr- ing opportunities to improve over the next 5 years (GSS "future opportu- nities"~. These relatively positive assessments of trends in discrimination should not overshadow the fact of widespread belief by blacks that discrimination con- tinues to be an important problem. One-third of blacks believed that blacks with qualifications comparable to those of whites could "almost never" expect to obtain as good a job as a white person, and another 54 percent thought that blacks could only "sometimes" obtain as good a job (GSS "job discriminations. Similarly, 32 percent believed that blacks with the same qualifications as whites would "almost never" earn as much money as would whites, with another 55 percent responding that blacks would obtain comparable earnings only "sometimes" (GSS "earnings discriminations. Several of the questions deal with more generalized orientations toward 132

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY whites. Responses to questions on feelings of trust and affinity with whites reveal many blacks expressing moderate to high levels of estrangement. Twenty percent of blacks out "being black" ahead of being; an American, although the vast majority rank both memberships as important to them c7 ~ ~-- - J J ~ ~ ~ ~ \ . ~ . 1 . 1 r 1 C C _ 1 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ (N SEA American or black first J; ~o percent saga honey rest - closer ~o blacks in Africa than to whites in America (NSBA "whites or Africans". Eleven percent of blacks said there were "no white people" who they felt they could trust, 82 percent trusted "some white people," and only 7 percent said that most white people could be trusted (GSS "trust whitest. And, on the one question that was also used by Schuman and Hatchett, 41 percent of blacks said that most white people want to "keep blacks down," 36 percent thought most whites "don't care" one way or the other, and 23 percent thought most whites wanted to see blacks get a "better break" (NSBA "keep downy. Although the NSBA and GSS sets of questions are heterogeneous, the responses have positive and small to moderate patterns of intercorrelation (Bobo, 1987b). Substantively, an important change in the political context may have af- fected black attitudes by the time of the 1982 GSS survey. The Reagan administration was then perceived by many black leaders as the most aggres- sively anti civil rights administration since before the civil rights movement, and many polls at that time showed that blacks gave President Reagan extremely unfavorable ratings (Cavanagh, 1985~. Thus, the greater coherence in black attitudes found in the 1982 data may be a result of a renewed sense of challenge or "threat" to black civil rights gains. This interpretation must remain speculative, however, because differences in question wordings and in question contexts might have contributed to the response patterns. Alienation from contemporary white society is not concentrated within any particular segment of the black community. Alienation does not vary substantially between persons of low and high social status (as measured by education and family income), between younger and older people, northern- ers and southerners, or between men and women (Bobo, 1987b). However, black alienation from white society is related to several aspects of black cultural identity (see Chapter 4~. Blacks who support affirming group bonds through various symbolic acts and those who support racially exclusive dat- ing are more likely to feel alienated from white society. In addition, blacks who attribute more positive traits to blacks are also somewhat more likely to feel alienated from white society. In summary, black alienation from white society is a complex concept to measure. But available data do suggest some increase in black alienation from the late 1960s and into the early 1980s. Questions concerning white intentions or basic trust in whites elicit some of the most alienated responses. BLACK AND WHITE PREFERENCES FOR BLACK-WHITE RELATIONS Black and white preferences or attitudes toward black-white relations vary within each group and differ as the nature of the intergroup relation varies. 136

RACIAL ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS Whites' support for norms of equal treatment is highest when intergroup contact is random and impersonal, and it is lowest when such contact is persistent and intimate. For example, white respondents differentiate sharply among different areas of life, such as employment, schools, and intermar- riage, depending on factors such as the proportions of whites and blacks involved. Thus, in one study of whites, 86 percent would "not mind at all" working with a black supervisor, while 49 percent gave this response toward a black family of equivalent income and education moving; in next door (Seeman, 1981:383~. This result represents an important continuity in prey erences over time, and it is fundamental to understanding the structure of black-white relations in the United States. In 1944, Myrdal hypothesized that for whites the importance attached to a type of social contact or black-white relation depended on its relevance to the "antiamalgarnation" doctrine-the rule of no marriage or sexual intercourse between whites and blacks. Under this hypothesis, discrimination against and segregation of blacks were considered most important in areas of dose personal contact. For blacks, the antiamalgamation doctrine played no special role in ranking areas of social contact or black-white relations. In fact, Myrdal's list had black and white rank orderings inversely parallel-those areas most impor- tant to blacks jobs and civil rights) were least important to whites: Whites' Rankings 4 5 ~. 1 . . · . Intermarriage and sexual intercourse involving white women Personal relations: mixed neighborhoods, 5 . . c ,ancmg, eatmg Mixed schools, churches, public transportation Political disfranchisement Blacks' Rankings 6 4 ~lscnmmarlon in tne crlmma1 Justice system 2 6 Discrimination in employment 1 Something similar to a group rank ordering for whites is available from the attitudinal survey data. Table 3-6 lists various areas of possible social contact and relations. An area's ranking in these lists depends on the proportion of white respondents who desire inequality or differential treatment between the groups in that area. The higher the proportion espousing equal treat- ment, the lower is the area of contact on the rank ordering. Thus, types of group contact are ranked according to how large a proportion of whites desire unequal treatment.2 2. An alternative method, and the one Myrdal seemed to have in mind, would ask individuals to give their personal rank ordering and then attempt to construct a group ordering by aggre- gating over individuals. Even if data of this latter type were available, it is likely that no unambiguous group ordering could be constructed. Except under conditions of near unanimity, group orderings of preferences can seldom be unambiguously formed (Arrow, 1963; Sen, 1971). 137

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY TABLE 3-6 Whites' Opposition to Black-White Contact, by Rank Order Percentage of Re~spt3ndents Opposed 1940s Type of Contact North South 1980Sa 1. Intermarnage 96 b _ 60 2. Residential 82 97 15 3. Schools 58 98 10 4. Jobs 30 75 3 a Data are for untired United States. bathe date for this percentage is 1958. With respect to blacks, it is not possible to construct a meaningful ordering of this type with the available data. As mentioned above, blacks have over- whelmingly favored equal treatment as long as they have been asked these questions. This makes it very difficult to differentiate between types of contact, because so many are bunched within a small interval close to una- nimity for equal treatment. (This situation is similar to that for white south- erners in the 1940s on a range of contact areas, with differential treatment . . . . . ~ rece1vmg near unanimity in most areas.) These orderings are consistent with Myrdal's hypothesis for the 1940s. They also show that while the proportion of individuals desiring discrimina- tory behavior has declined over time, the rank orderings have been constant. According to these orderings, while few whites strictly desire unequal treat- ment in employment, school attendance, and residential living, a substantial majority would feel very uneasy or somewhat uneasy about intermarriage. In light of the data reviewed, it is difficult not to conclude that at some fundamental level the attitudes of a majority of whites toward blacks are ambivalent. Whites express a desire for equal treatment, at least when small numbers of blacks are concerned, but when close intimate contact is in- volved, most whites do not yet accept blacks as social equals. CONTEMPORARY BLACK-WHITE RELATIONS As the attitudinal data just reviewed suggest, contemporary black-white relations fall somewhere between the overt racism of the past and an unam- biguous commitment to full integration and equal opportunity. Anecdotal as well as systematic evidence of this state of race relations abounds. The "city of brotherly love" attracted national media attention when a black man, Wilson Goode, was elected mayor after a campaign that was largely free of racial overtones. Yet Philadelphia grabbed the national headlines again when a black family was driven from its new home in a traditionally white neighborhood. California, with a black voting-age population of only 7 138

RACIAL ATTITUDES AN D BEHAVIORS percent, has twice almost elected a black Democratic nominee to the office of governor. Analysis of both voting and survey public opinion data suggest that negative racial attitudes were factors in George Dukemejian's victories over Tom Bradley in 1982 and 1986 (Petti=~rew and Alston, 1988~. Such seemingly incongruent racial patterns are neither restricted to the realm of politics nor are they so rare and noteworthy that they always command media attention: they characterize mundane settings as well. Blacks in many social institutions, from sports and entertainment to business and government, have complained that the removal of absolute racial barriers has not eliminated all racial barriers and tensions. Some blacks working in cor- porate settings report that despite their demonstrated competence and com- mitment, the highest levels of management are rarely open to them (Iones, 1986~. Many companies in the private sector actively recruit blacks, and a large number have instituted programs and procedures to aid such recruitment efforts. Yet as the 1980s began, signs of resistance to black progress had intensified. For example, some corporations conducting equal employment training programs encountered greater resistance from management. Some white managers asked "Why are we doing this when the outside environ O · · . . . . . ment has cooled to these equal opportunity programs? Why are we wasting our money?" A black manager at a major manufacturing company related that at a cocktail party during a regional sales meeting a ranking official in the company remarked in a group conversation that "most of my people would find it extremely difficult, almost counterproductive, to work for a minority individual" /~Wall Street jowl, May 27, 1982, cited in Tones, 1988:19~. The Wall Street~ournal reported (cited in Tones, 1988:19) that there was "some evidence of a relaxation of efforts to recruit minority group members and women. We get the sense that companies aren't feeling the pressure anymore." Many kinds of public and private interactions between blacks and whites that were once very infrequent and even illegal now occur frequently with little notice. Blacks and whites now enjoy meals together in public accom- modations or their own homes in areas where this would have occasioned scandal and possibly violent reprisals just a few years ago. Their children attend school together, compete with and against one another in team sports, and they themselves associate freely and voluntarily in workplaces throughout the country. No amount of cynicism should be allowed to underestimate the significant gains in harmonious race relations made clear by these conditions. Still, changes are sometimes more perceptual and psychological than tan- gible, and often a matter of subtle shifts in degree rather than a difference in kind. The forces behind these new and very complicated patterns of black- white relations are exceedingly difficult to separate. 139

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS AN D RETAI L ESTABLISHMENTS Many blacks report hesitant and occasionally plainly differential treatment in searching for housing in predominantly white suburbs (Pearce, 1979) and when patronizing expensive stores, restaurants, or many other settings where blacks are infrequent participants (Schuman et al., 1983). We cite two ex- amples of the latter type of behavior that are frequently reported by the news media throughout the country. Local managers of a national hotel corporation settled out of court with U.S. Department of Justice officials to charges that their hotels, located in Alabama and Virginia, "tried to limit the number of black patrons in the hotels' lounges" (Washington Post, December 24, 1986:B6~: According to the lawsuit, the techniques included imposing stringent dress codes on blacks and turning them away while admitting whites similarly dressed, requiring more identification for blacks than whites, and instruct- ing employees to serve blacks only after all whites had been served. In the lawsuit the government also said the hotels instructed employees to be rude to blacks and served black customers drinks with less than the regular measure of alcohol. The lounges also discontinued special promo- tions, including free hors d'oeuvres, that attracted black business and played music meant to discourage black patronage, the government said. In Greenbelt, Maryland, a 32-year-old male black social worker and his cousin, a 31-year-old male black attorney, were browsing in a dress shop looking for a birthday gift for the social worker's wife. Two white sales- women became "nervous" and called the police to complain about two black men "loitering" in stores. While waiting in line to make a purchase at another store, the two men suffered the embarrassment of being confronted by two white police officers who "demanded that the men get out of the line, show identification and answer questions while background checks were run on them" (<Washington Post Magazine, September 7, 1986:13) . In the 1980s most blacks in the great majority of places shop under conditions free of harassment. However, there are more than a few retail establishments and other places in which blacks are afforded access without overt harassment, but they must confront behavior-polite rudeness, overly aggressive attentiveness, or poor service-that lets them know they are not wanted. Many blacks avoid such establishments. RACIAL ATTITUDES AN D DISCRIMI NATION I N HOUSI NO A major factor in the differential treatment of blacks is white behavior that is motivated by attitudes and preferences against social settings in which a significant proportion of the people involved are black. One of the most important domains in which this behavior is prevalent is residential housing. The three strongest hypotheses put forward to explain the persistent residen- tial separation of whites and blacks are discrimination, black and white preferences for ethnically homogeneous neighborhoods, and socioeconomic 140

RACIAL ATTITUDES AN D BEHAVIORS differences between the two groups. We discuss the first two interconnected hypotheses first. The explanation most consistent with the data focuses on the attitudes of whites and the discriminatory real estate practices that such attitudes may foster. Near the turn of this century, DuBois (1899:389) wrote that most white people in Philadelphia preferred not to live near blacks, thus greatly curtailing blacks' housing choices. More contemporary studies show that almost all whites throughout the United States endorse the statement that minorities have the right to live in any residence they can afford. Such surveys show that white attitudes about racially mixed neighborhoods have changed considerably from attitudes of the 1940s (see Table 3-1 and Chapter 2~. However, many whites also hold other beliefs that help to foster residen . , . flat segregation. For example, studies of residential segregation in the Detroit area (Farley et al., 1978, 1980) concluded that whites generally hold three beliefs about the effects of racial change on neighborhoods. First, stable interracial neigh- borhoods are believed to be rare; once a few blacks move in, whites believe more will follow and that the neighborhood is destined to become largely black (see Schelling, 1972~. Second, many whites believe that residential property values are lowered by the presence of blacks; thus, they consider it risky to own housing in a racially changing neighborhood. Third, whites believe that crime rates are higher in black neighborhoods than in white neighborhoods. Whites also believe that if they were in an area with a black majority, they would be exposed to a high risk of victimization. It can be inferred that at least partly as a consequence of these attitudes, whites did not want to purchase housing in neighborhoods where blacks were present or entering. In the Detroit metropolitan area, and presumably in others, residential areas were "color coded," and both buyers and sellers were aware of the neighborhoods that were open and closed to blacks (see also Molotch, 1972; Rieder, 1985:79-85; Taub et al., 1984~. One-quarter of the whites surveyed said they would be uncomfortable if blacks composed just 7 percent of the population in an area, and more than 25 percent said they would not consider purchasing a home in such a neighborhood. If blacks comprised 20 percent of the residents, over 40 percent of the whites surveyed said they would be uncomfortable and 24 percent would attempt to leave. Thus, the presence of even small numbers of black residents is very disturbing to a significant fraction of whites (Farlev et al., 1978; see Figure 3-1 and Table 3-1~. A ~, The reluctance of whites to live in areas that blacks are entering or to remain in neighborhoods where blacks live offers real estate dealers financial incentives to steer blacks and whites to distinct areas. An extensive investi gation into this problem in 1977 was done by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) (1979~. In a sample of 40 large metropolitan areas, black and white customers, matched for their similarities in socioeconomic status, were often treated differently. Blacks who contacted four real estate agents faced a 72 percent chance of experiencing discrimina 141

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY FIGURE 3-l Attractiveness of neighborhoods with venous racial compositions for (a) white and (b) black respondents. (a) White Respondents Diagram of Neighborhood House your house Your~ house Proportion Indicating Proportion Indicating Proportion Indicating They Would Feel Un- They Would Try to They Are Not VVilling comfortable in the Move Out of the to Move into Such a Neighborhood Neighborhood Neighborhood 42% 57% 24% 41% 1 1 1 1 1 64% 1 1 1 1 1 27% 50% 84% 1 1 1 1 1 20 40 60 80 100 20 40 60 80100 20 40 60 80 100 Source: Reynolds Parley (1976) Detroit Area Study. Department of Sociology, University of Michigan. tion in the rental market and a 48 percent chance in the sales market. The HUD report concluded that 70 percent of the whites and blacks who sought advertised rental housing in these metropolitan areas in the late 1970s were steered into separate neighborhoods. Among those who were buying, 90 percent were steered. Earlier studies were consistent with HUD's housing market audit. In the late 1960s, HUD supported an investigation of the causes of residential segregation by race. This study was conducted by the National Research Council (Hawley and Rock, 1973~. They reported that it was impossible to isolate one cause of the persistent isolation of blacks. Rather, there was a pervasive "web of discrimination" involving the actions and inactions of 142

RACIAL ATTITU DES AN D BEHAVIORS FIGURE 3-1 (Continued) (b) Black Respondents Proportion Selecting this Diagram of Neighborhood as Their First Neighborhood or Second Choice your ~4 house your ¢ ¢ house your 4<,~ house 24% 5% 1 1 1 1 1 20 40 60 80 100 Proportion Who Would Be Willing to Move into Such a Neighborhood 17% 69% 68% 38% 1 1 1 1 1 1 20 40 60 80 100 99% 99% 95% local government officials, federal agencies, financial institutions, and real estate marketing firms, which had the consequence of limiting housing op- portunities for blacks and creating the segregated patterns of metropolitan America. These findings have been replicated in the 1980s (John Yinger, 1986~. Black attitudes are also important for assessing residential segregation. For close to 30 years, national samples of blacks have been surveyed about their 143

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY preferences between racially mixed and black neighborhoods (Pettigrew, 1973~. Two-thirds to three-quarters of black respondents have consistently chosen mixed neighborhoods. In the Detroit study (Farley et al., 1978), blacks' ideal choice was to live in an area that was about 55 percent white and 45 percent black. More generally, most blacks said they would be comfortable in any neighborhood except one in which they were the only black resident. Nearly all blacks were willing to be the third black to move into a predominantly white area, and many were willing to be second. However, blacks greatly resisted being the first black on a previously all- white block (see Figure 3-1~. Their major reason was not due to a preference for racial homogeneity. Rather, some feared that crosses would be burned on their lawns or their homes would be stoned, and others believed that white neighbors would be unfriendly, make them feel unwelcome and out of place, and scrutinize their behavior (Farley et al., 1978:332~. Thus, it is clear that the preferences and fears of whites as well as discrimination by the real estate industry-not black preferences-play a major role in the residen- tial isolation of blacks. HOUSING AND SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS Residential segregation is often assumed to be mostly due to socioeco- nomic differences between blacks and whites. However, blacks of every economic level are highly segregated from whites of similar economic status. For metropolitan areas with one-quarter million or more black residents in 1980, we computed measures of black-white residential segregation, control- ling first for family income and then for the educational attainment of people age 25 and over. Average values for these segregation indexes for all 16 areas are shown in Table 3-7. As in Chapter 2, an index of 100 means total segregation, and an index of O implies a random distribution of blacks and whites in their residences. As an example, in the Washington, D.C., metro- politan area, the segregation index comparing black families with incomes of $10,000 to $14,999 in 1979 to similar white families was 70; for families with incomes of $35,000 to $49,999 in income, the segregation index was also 70. For all 16 metropolitan areas, the average segregation index for families with incomes of $10,000 to $14,999 was 75; for families with incomes of $35,000 to $49,999, it was 76. The segregation index for families with $50,000 and above equals that for families in poverty. The lower part of Table 3-7 presents similar residential segregation indices using educational attainment as the measure of economic status or social class. Blacks and whites are greatly segregated irrespective of their income or educa- tion. Highly educated blacks also face barriers to locating housing in the same neighborhoods as well-educated whites. The segregation indices for black and white college graduates were 80 in Detroit, 76 in Chicago, and 72 in New York. The corresponding residential segregation indices for black and white high school dropouts were 77 in Detroit, 80 in Chicago, and 68 in New York. An examination of Asian-white segregation shows the uniqueness of the 144

RACIAL ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS TABLE 3-7 Indices of Segregation by Income and Educational Level, 1980 Income or Educational Level Black-White Segregation in 16 Areas a Segregation in Three Metropolitan Crease Black-White Asian-White Family income in 1979 Under $5,000 $5,000-$7,499 $7,500-$9,999 $10,000-$14,999 $15,000-$19,999 $20,000-$24,999 $25,000-$34,999 $35,000-$49,999 $50,000 or more Educational attainment of persons aged 25 and over Less than 9 years High school, 1-3 years High school, 4 years College, 1-3 years College, 4 years or more 76 76 76 75 75 76 76 76 79 76 77 76 74 71 77 77 78 76 78 77 78 78 79 77 79 77 74 69 66 71 69 59 58 57 53 53 56 57 56 50 48 47 a These residential segregation scores are average values for 16 metropolitan areas (Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.) computed Tom census tract data. The index shown for an income of $20,000-$24,999, 76, compared the residential distribution of black families in this income category to that of white families in the identical category. Atheist segregation scores are average values for those three metropolitan areas that contained at least one-quarter million blacks and one-quarter million Asians: Los Angeles, New York, and San Franciscc>-Oakland. Source: Data Tom 1980 decennial census. black situation. Three metropolitan areas-Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco-Oakland-had at least one-quarter million black and one-quarter million Asian-American residents in 1980. For these locations, we can com- pare the segregation indices of both blacks from whites and Asian-Americans from whites. These segregation indices, computed after controlling for edu- cational attainment, are shown in the two right columns of Table 3-7. At every income and educational level, black-white residential segregation was substantially greater than Asian-white segregation. For example in Los ~ I_ 1 ' Angeies, tor families with incomes of more than $50,000, the score compar- ing the distributions of Asian-Americans and whites was 58; for blacks and whites it was 83. In contrast to the situation among blacks, residential segregation of Asian- Americans and whites declines as income and, especially, education increases. This implies that social and economic factors account for some of the resi- dential segregation of Asian-Americans since segregation levels varied by 145

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY status. It appears that Asian-Americans with high incomes or educations can move into high status white neighborhoods more easily than blacks can. DISCRIMINATION IN THE WORKPLACE The extent of discrimination against blacks in the workplace has apparently not been extensively investigated by direct tests similar in design to the audits of residential housing markets reported above. Consequently, the extent of employment discrimination must be inferred from less direct evidence. The two primary sources of evidence are estimates based on statistical models and on assessments of employment discrimination litigation and related activities of various government agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Department of Justice. From these sources, four major conclusions can be inferred: discrimination against blacks in the workplace continues; effects of discrimination on the earnings and occupations of employed blacks have declined; based on statis- tical estimates, there is no discrimination against black women in comparison with white women, but black (and white) women suffer considerable dis- crimination in comparison with men, and many individual cases of discrimi- nation against black women continue to occur; current forms of discrimina- tion in the workplace are less blatant than discrimination during past decades. Methods of statistical estimation of discrimination vary somewhat but most are based on the same idea. Discrimination is defined as unequal treatment to individuals with equal productive characteristics. Statistical estimates of discr~m- ination are computed from data on earnings or occupations and the presumed productive demographic characteristics of individuals. The statistical model es- timates, separately for whites and blacks, the earnings or occupational status that would be obtained for a given set of demographic characteristics. Black earnings, occupations, and employment levels differ from those of whites partly because the demographic characteristics of the typical black worker (e.g., edu- cation, past work experience) differ from those of the typical white worker. Of course, a part of that difference is itself due to past and current discrimination against blacks. These estimates show different "payoffs" to blacks and whites. Part of the lower payoff to blacks is due to differences in the mean level of productive characteristics (e.g., lower education) and part is due to black-white differences in the market payoff to a given characteristic. Thus, the data can be used to estimate how much of the actual difference in payoffs to whites and blacks can be explained by differences in their productive characteristics. The proportion of the difference that cannot be explained by these characteristics is defined to be the measure of discr~mination.3 3. An obvious pitfall in this procedure is that some productive characteristics may bet incor- rectly measured or some may not be included in the model. If so, the level of discrimination may be incorrectly estimated. In addition, there are other criticisms that argue that these methods underestimate the level of discrimination against blacks (see Feath~rman and Hauser, 1978). 146

RACIAL ATTITUDES AN D BEHAVIORS Researchers who have used these techniques agree that discrimination against blacks has been reduced during the past 30 years (Farley, 1984; Featherman and Hauser, 1978; Haworth et al., 1975~. For example, Farley (1984) found that from 19 percent to 35 percent of the difference between the earnings of black and white men in 1959 could not be explained by differences in productive characteristics. In 1979, the unexplained portion was 12-24 percent. The difference in the upper and lower estimates for both periods depended on whether one assumed that black mens' lower employ- ment levels were due to discrimination or were mostly voluntary. Among women, the estimated effect of discrimination on earnings of blacks in 1959 was about 16 percent; in 1979, a black woman would have earned 8 percent more than a white woman with identical characteristics. In comparison with men, 47 percent of black womens' earnings deficit in 1959 could not be explained by productive characteristics; 36 percent was unexplained by the data in 1979. Complementary evidence for the hypothesis that discrimination has de- clined is contained in a large literature showing the increase in rates of return to education for blacks. Prior to the mid-1960s, blacks received relatively much lower earnings or occupational status than whites for increased educa- tional attainment. After the mid-1960s, returns to education rose faster for blacks than for whites (O'Neill, 1986; Smith and Welch, 1986; Weiss and Williamson, 1972~. This evidence implies that discrimination has decreased, although it has not been eliminated. This conclusion is consistent with the large number of discrimination cases alleged, won, and settled out of court in courts and in local, state, and federal government agencies responsible for adjudicating cases of employ- ment bias. Since the mid-1970s, disparate treatment cases declined in signif- icance as overt discrimination gave way to more subtle forms of discrimina- tion (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 1984:215~. Yet blatant cases of discrimination have apparently not been completely eradi- cated. An example is a case filed against a small bottling company in North Carolina by the EEOC in 1986. No blacks had been employed in any but the most menial positions in the company's 20-year history, a fact that the EEOC alleged was due to blatant discriminatory practices in job assignments and promotions for whites and blacks. Moreover, only one white had been employed in "black jobs" during this period. Overt segregation of plant facilities and disparate treatment of white and black employees in a number of other dimensions was also cited (Jacksonville Daily News, May 27, 1986; Washington Post, October 22, 1986~. Current discrimination is more likely to involve less overt forms of behavior that are far more difficult to detect. For example, Chapter 2 contained a discussion of employment exclusion in professional sports. A considerable literature reports that although black and white baseball players of given ability (as measured by performance) receive equal salaries, blacks apparently must have greater ability than whites to make the big leagues. Thus, occu- pational discrimination was found to exist for black baseball players of less 147

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY than star talent. Employment discrimination of this type would be much more difficult to detect and prove in more typical occupations where clear- cut measures of productivity are not available (as they are in baseball); many allegations of discrimination are of a similar nature. On the basis of the statistical evidence and continued cases of private companies' regularly set- tling discrimination suits with large payments out of court to complainants, we infer that discrimination against blacks persists in the work force. EXPLANATIONS OF BLACK AN D WH ITE ATTITUDES TOWARD RACE In black-white relations, support among white people for general princi- ples of equal treatment-norms or generalized statements of desirability- usually receives greater endorsement than specific proposals for implement- ina these principles. This cap between endorsement of principle and imple ~ 1 ~ ~ 1 ~ ~ ~ . · ~ . 1 · · 1 · 1~ 1 1 _ r __ _ 1 _ _ _ mentat~on ot those principles occurs especially when the means or ~mplemen- tation involves governmental intervention. How is this finding to be interpreted' Schuman and colleagues (1985) have identified three broad types of interpretation of recent change in racial attitudes and behavior in the United States. THREE INTERPRETATIONS The "progressive trend" holds that the survey data indicating important and fundamental increases in white preferences for equality in black-white relations reflect real and consistent changes. A second line of interpretation, "underlying racism," maintains that many of the apparent changes indicated by these data are merely endorsements of general principles. Such endorse- ments represent an increasingly sophisticated rhetoric adopted by whites as a means of leaving intact their deeper commitment to group position and hardened resistance to realistic change while expressing symbolic concessions. The third approach, "meaningful patterns of progress and resistance," at- tempts to synthesize both the complex profile of change and resistance to change and the probable causes of that pattern. The progressive trend accepts at face value the reported decreases in nega- tive attitudes among whites. The underlying racism argument attempts to discount the apparent changes. Such discounting may refer to various lines of evidence: (1) lower proportions of whites approve the implementation than the principle items; (2) lower proportions of whites accept equal- treatment statements when large rather than small proportions of blacks are specified; (3) approval of equal treatment is less for close, personalized rela- tions than for impersonal, public contexts; (4) whites are more likely to give pro equal-treatment responses to black than to white interviewers; and (5) responses vary greatly with changes in the specific wordings of the questions. A prominent example used in making a case for the underlying racism 148

RACIAL ATTITUDES AN D BEHAVIORS explanation is provided by the public controversies concerning the use of busing as a means to bring about desegregation in the schools. Data on negative attitudes of white persons toward such busing have been interpreted as evidence of hidden or symbolic racism. And since many whites who oppose busing do not have children who are subject to busing, they are not acting out of pure self-interest. Nevertheless, there is no plausible reason to doubt that whites' acceptance of blacks' rights to "equality of opportunity" have greatly increased during the past four decades. The great variations in apparent levels of acceptance do not belie the pervasive shifts in norms of legitimacy and appropriateness since the end of World War II. The changes are evident in overt behavior as well as in "testimony"-survey responses-and it is difficult to dismiss these forms of evidence as manifestations of hypocrisy, sophisticated tactics to maintain social peace, or as mere ritualistic lip service. Furthermore, statistical analyses of survey data show that negative attitudes toward busing are positively correlated with overt expressions of racial prej- udice (Sears et al., 1979~. Hence, the inferred racism clearly is not merely symbolic, for many of those who oppose busing also voice expressions of overt racial prejudice and thus are not disguising their views. The real ques- tion concerns persons who endorse desegregation but reject measures in- tended to promote it. COMPETING VALUES Many Americans endorse a particular principle and then oppose a remedy designed to achieve that principle. This divergence has been notably true of attitudes toward civil liberties: support for abstract norms changes to expres- sions of intolerance of unpopular groups (McCloskey, 1964; Stouffer, 1955) . Similarly, Americans who support black-white equality as an abstract goal often oppose particular civil rights measures. In this context, the obvious observation is that generalized norms or values are, by definition, context-free, but the concrete implications of any imple- mentation policy will be numerous and diverse. These implications may cause the principle to be constrained by competing values and situational realities, such as resource costs. The responses to direct questions as typically used in large-scale surveys rarely can be given a single clear-cut meaning. The meanings of terms are often numerous and ambiguous. Also, the taken-for- granted contexts within which respondents frame their replies are not always obvious or easily inferred. Hence, an important feature of measured attitudes is that analytic interpretation of their meaning depends heavily on knowledge of the context of assumptions, beliefs, and justifications that respondents have in mind. In ordinary social interaction when individuals express opin- ions, they often give reasons for those opinions. Analysis of such "reasons," in the form of accounts, explanations, justifications, elaborations, or qualifi- cations, can aid interpretation of the meaning of responses, suggest new hypotheses, and help to specify the contexts and limits of particular atti 149

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

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

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

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

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

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] collection of scholars [has] released a monumental study called A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society. It offers detailed evidence of the progress our nation has made in the past 50 years in living up to American ideals. But the study makes clear that our work is far from over." --President Bush Remarks by the president to the National Urban League Conference

The product of a four-year, intensive study by distinguished experts, A Common Destiny presents a clear, readable "big picture" of blacks' position in America. Drawing on historical perspectives and a vast amount of data, the book examines the past 50 years of change and continuity in the status of black Americans. By studying and comparing black and white age cohorts, this volume charts the status of blacks in areas such as education, housing, employment, political participation and family life.

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