Socioeconomic Status in the Local Black Community as an Influence on White Residents' Racial Views

Adriana M. Reyes, Pennsylvania State University
Marylee C. Taylor, Pennsylvania State University

This paper extends the study of contextual influences on racial attitudes by asking how the SES of the local black community shapes the racial attitudes of white residents. Using responses to the 1998-2002 General Social Surveys merged with year 2000 census data, we compare the influences on white residents’ attitudes of black educational and economic composition, and we assess the independence of these effects from the impact of white contextual SES. Across seven racial attitude measures, white residents’ views are more positive in localities where the black population contains more college graduates. However, such localities tend also to have highly educated white populations, as well as higher income among black and white families, and the multiple influences are inseparable. In contrast, many dimensions of racial attitudes show an independent effect of black economic composition, white residents’ reporting more negative racial views where the local African American community is poorer.

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Presented in Poster Session 2