In this thought-provoking analysis, George Yancey reevaluates the controversial ""contact hypothesis"" as he explores if and when interracial contact can combat the racial animosity and inequality permeating US society. Yancey draws on quantitative and qualitative investigations of interracial religious congregations, families, and friendships to demonstrate that extensive interactions with people of color can alter the racial attitudes of whites. In the process, he challenges the assumption that contact necessarily results in people of color assimilating white values and culture: it may strengthen their socio-economic positions, but it does not subvert their racial identity. Contact, Yancey concludes, is not a panacea for society's racial ills...but it is a vital supplement to the structural changes that must occur.
George Yancey is associate professor of sociology at the University of North Texas. He is author of Who is White?: Latinos, Asians, and the New Black/Nonblack Divide.
Contact: Part of the Problem, or the Solution? The Potential Effects of Interracial Contact. Where is Interracial Contact the Most Powerful? Does Interracial Contact Change Racial Attitudes? Pathways to Change. Interracial Contact and People of Color. Conclusion: Supporting Change.