Class differences in racial attitudes: A divided black America?

Sean Shong Hwang, Kevin M. Fitzpatrick, David Helms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Class differences in racial attitudes among blacks were examined using the 1979-1980 National Survey of Black Americans (NSBA). We examined two perspectives - class realignment and ethnic competition - as possible explanations for attitudinal differences between middle-and lower-class blacks. The majority of our findings supported the ethnic competition perspective which predicts a more critical attitude among middle-than lower-class blacks toward the stratification system. However, we found no significant class differences in blacks' attitudinal orientation towards whites. In addition, a clear difference between classes with respect to political action was found. In general, the results provide qualified support for Wilson's class polarization thesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-380
Number of pages14
JournalSociological Perspectives
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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