Based on one of the most extensive scientific surveys of race ever conducted, this book investigates the relationship between racial perceptions and policy choices in America. The contributorsleading scholars in the fields of public opinion, race relations, and political behaviorclarify and explore images of African-Americans that white Americans hold and the complex ways that racial stereotypes shape modern political debates about such issues as affirmative action, housing, welfare, and crime.
The authors make use of the largest national study of public opinion on racial issues in more than a generationthe Race and Politics Study (RPS) conducted by the Survey Research Center at the University of California. The RPS employed methodological improvements made possible by Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing, a technique that enables analysts to combine the internal validity of laboratory experiments with the external validity of probability sampling. Taking full advantage of these research methods, the authors offer highly nuanced analyses of subjects ranging from the sources of racial stereotypes to the racial policy preferences of Democrats and Republicans to the reasons for resistance to affirmative action. Their findings indicate that while crude and explicit forms of racial prejudice may have declined in recent decades, racial stereotypes persist among many whites and exert a powerful influence on the ways they view certain public policies.