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Library Journal Review
Statistical studies are often anathema to humanists. Here is one, however, that is both readable and informative. Relying on poll data since 1942 and avoiding jargon, the authors paint a fascinating picture of white (and to a much lesser extent, black) racial attitudes. Their findings show that while white acceptance of the principles of racial justice and even social proximity has risen since 1942, acceptance of federal implementation of racial justice has remained steady or actually declined. Rich in both fact and theory, this work is recommended primarily for scholars in the field. Anthony O. Edmonds, History Dept., Ball State Univ., Muncie, Ind. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
One of a series sponsored by the Committee on Social Indicators of the Social Science Research Council, this book is an excellent overview of trends in white racial attitudes, black racial attitudes, and theories of apparent attitudinal changes. Schuman is a prominent research sociologist with much experience in the study of racial attitudes using survey methodology. The central chapter describes trends between 1942 and 1983 in white attitudes on a variety of issues, including equal jobs and intermarriage. Movement is in a generally more tolerant, less racist direction. Data showing a liberalizing trend in overall white attitudes on race have become controversial. Some researchers, e.g., Mary Jackman (Michigan), argue that these changes are superficial, since a majority of whites still oppose aggressive government action to get rid of racial discrimination in housing and jobs. This controversy is thoroughly discussed in Chapters 5 and 6, but the discussion (and the book) is weak on the historical context necessary to understanding white (racist) resistance to thoroughgoing racial desegregation, north and south. Yet the valuable data here clearly demonstrate the extent of continuing white resistance to larger-scale societal change, a critical issue for citizens and policymakers to ponder. An essential book for policy debates on the matter of race discrimination. College and university libraries.-J.R. Feagin, University of Texas at Austin