Catalogue


Racial attitudes in America : trends and interpretations /
Howard Schuman, Charlotte Steeh, Lawrence Bobo.
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1985.
description
xi, 260 p. ; 25 cm. --
ISBN
0674745744 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1985.
isbn
0674745744 (alk. paper)
general note
Includes index.
catalogue key
3229246
 
Bibliography: p. 242-254.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 1985-11-01:
Statistical studies are often anathema to humanists. Here is one, however, that is both readable and informative. Relying on poll data since 1942 and avoiding jargon, the authors paint a fascinating picture of white (and to a much lesser extent, black) racial attitudes. Their findings show that while white acceptance of the principles of racial justice and even social proximity has risen since 1942, acceptance of federal implementation of racial justice has remained steady or actually declined. Rich in both fact and theory, this work is recommended primarily for scholars in the field. Anthony O. Edmonds, History Dept., Ball State Univ., Muncie, Ind. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 1986-03:
One of a series sponsored by the Committee on Social Indicators of the Social Science Research Council, this book is an excellent overview of trends in white racial attitudes, black racial attitudes, and theories of apparent attitudinal changes. Schuman is a prominent research sociologist with much experience in the study of racial attitudes using survey methodology. The central chapter describes trends between 1942 and 1983 in white attitudes on a variety of issues, including equal jobs and intermarriage. Movement is in a generally more tolerant, less racist direction. Data showing a liberalizing trend in overall white attitudes on race have become controversial. Some researchers, e.g., Mary Jackman (Michigan), argue that these changes are superficial, since a majority of whites still oppose aggressive government action to get rid of racial discrimination in housing and jobs. This controversy is thoroughly discussed in Chapters 5 and 6, but the discussion (and the book) is weak on the historical context necessary to understanding white (racist) resistance to thoroughgoing racial desegregation, north and south. Yet the valuable data here clearly demonstrate the extent of continuing white resistance to larger-scale societal change, a critical issue for citizens and policymakers to ponder. An essential book for policy debates on the matter of race discrimination. College and university libraries.-J.R. Feagin, University of Texas at Austin
Reviews
Review Quotes
A significant study, easily the best in its field, underpinning its statistical analysis with a strong sense of history.
A welcome arrival...Informative and reflective, Racial Attitudes in America will be immensely useful to anyone interested in contemporary social history, as well as race relations specifically.
For anyone seeking to examine the evolution of American racial attitudes since the 1940s, this painstakingly precise book is the place to begin.
Schuman, Steeh, and Bobo have performed a singular service. Social scientists, and citizens at large, interested in the American dilemma are in their debt: for the completeness of the record they have compiled of American racial attitudes over the past four decades, for the care and clarity with which they have presented that record, and for the objectivity and sophistication with which they have interpreted it. Their analysis of American racial attitudes is, of course, not complete; it is merely indispensable.
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, November 1985
Choice, March 1986
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
This new edition brings fully up-to-date a book widely praised for its clear and objective presentation of changes in American racial attitudes during the second half of the twentieth century. The book retains the division of racial attitudes into principles of equality, government implementation of those principles, and social distance, but adds questions concerning affirmative action and beliefs about sources of inequality. A conceptual section now opens the book, evidence on social desirability has been added, and a new chapter deals with cohort effects and with the impact of income, education, and gender. In key instances, randomized experiments are introduced that test hypotheses more rigorously than is ordinarily possible with survey data. Throughout, the authors have reconsidered earlier ideas and introduced new thinking.
Main Description
This book traces changes in American attitudes toward racial issues that have taken place between the 1940s and the 1980s--a crucial period that encompasses the civil rights revolution, the growth of black militancy and white resistance, and the enactment of affirmative-action legislation. The authors are the first to compare data about black and white attitudes collected by three major survey organizations: Gallup, the National Opinion Research Center, and the Institute for Social Research. They make careful distinctions between attitudes toward principles of racial equality and attitudes toward government action to implement those principles. The wide research base and methodological sophistication of their analysis yield conclusions quite different from those of earlier, more narrowly drawn studies. For example, they find that while there has been a striking increase in support for principles of equality and fairness, support for some kinds of implementation of these ideals lags far behind or has even declined among both blacks and whites. The implementation measures considered range from busing to achieve integration of schools to laws requiring equal opportunity in employment. In addition to reanalyzing survey data, the authors have also performed several innovative experiments on the wording and context of survey questions to help them interpret the data more accurately.
Main Description
This book traces changes in American attitudes toward racial issues that have taken place between the 1940s and the 1980s--a crucial period that encompasses the civil rights revolution, the growth of black militancy and white resistance, and the enactment of affirmative-action legislation.The authors are the first to compare data about black and white attitudes collected by three major survey organizations: Gallup, the National Opinion Research Center, and the Institute for Social Research. They make careful distinctions between attitudes toward principles of racial equality and attitudes toward government action to implement those principles. The wide research base and methodological sophistication of their analysis yield conclusions quite different from those of earlier, more narrowly drawn studies. For example, they find that while there has been a striking increase in support for principles of equality and fairness, support for some kinds of implementation of these ideals lags far behind or has even declined among both blacks and whites. The implementation measures considered range from busing to achieve integration of schools to laws requiring equal opportunity in employment. In addition to reanalyzing survey data, the authors have also performed several innovative experiments on the wording and context of survey questions to help them interpret the data more accurately.
Table of Contents
Preface to the Revised Edition
Preface to the 1985 Edition Theoretical and Historical Perspectives
Problems in Studying Changes in Racial Attitudes
Trends in White Racial Attitudes
Sources of Change in White Racial Attitudes
Trends in Black Racial Attitudes
Theoretical Interpretations of Changes in White RacialAttitudes
Conclusion: The Complexity of Race Relations
Locating Trend Data on Racial Attitudes
Unstandardized Coefficients for Period/Cohort Variables from Regression Models in Chapter 4
Notes
References
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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