RACIAL ATTITUDES IN AMERICA: Trends and Interpretations

RACIAL ATTITUDES IN AMERICA: Trends and Interpretations

RACIAL ATTITUDES IN AMERICA: Trends and Interpretations by Howard Schuman, Charlotte Steeh, Lawrence Bobo, and Maria Krysan (Harvard University Press, 1997. 401 pp.)

This revised edition of the authors’ 1985 classic study examines the evolution of racial attitudes in America from 1945 to the present, as reflected in public opinion polls and other national survey data. The authors are careful to distinguish attitudes from norms, behavior, and inner convictions, and demonstrate a subtle understanding of the methodological pitfalls inherent in mapping such emotionally complicated terrain. Nevertheless, they conclude that while Americans are not much more color-blind than they ever were, “the normative definition of appropriate relations between blacks and whites has changed.” How deeply this change has been internalized may be difficult to discern, but it is “only because so much of the population … is now too young to have any memory of race relations circa 1940 or even 1960 [that there] can be any doubt about the magnitude of the change.” This new edition contains additional material on the impact of class, education, and income on racial attitudes, as well as reconsiderations of the authors’ theoretical and methodological constructs. Perhaps future editions will explore in greater depth America’s growing racial diversity–the current edition is set firmly within the paradigm of race as a black and white issue.

COPYRIGHT 1999 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group