"To Hell with Them All!": Percieved Discrimination, Interracial Contact, and Racial Attitudes

Document Type

Article - Merrimack Access Only

Publication Title

Sociological Focus

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

Can experiencing interracial hostility perpetuate interracial hostility? This article considers this possibility by examining the link between interpersonal discrimination and racial attitudes. Further, I situate discrimination into one’s totality of interracial exposure by analyzing whether other forms of interracial contact (friends, neighbors, or coworkers) condition the discrimination–attitudes association. Using representative data from the Chicago Area Study, I find that black, Hispanic, and white adults express greater feelings of racial threat and ingroup closeness when they report discrimination. The conditional effects vary across race/ethnicity. Among Hispanics, friendship mitigates these attitudinal consequences. For blacks, friendship is beneficial only for those not experiencing discrimination. Among whites, discrimination’s attitudinal consequences grow more extreme with greater neighborhood contact. Overall, the results suggest that (1) racial attitudes should be added to the list of interpersonal racial discrimination consequences and (2) discrimination is often a primary form of contact contributing to the development of racial attitudes.