No phase of this country’s domestic or foreign relations holds greater potential power for harmony or conflict than our racial attitudes. Yet there is probably no area of social relations in which we have had fewer facts and more assumptions on which to base our thinking and our efforts at constructive action. This sociopsychological study adds considerably to our knowledge of actual racial attitudes in the United States and some of the factors that affect them. The study examines the racial attitudes of people living in public, interracial housing projects in four cities: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Hartford, and Springfield, Massachusetts. Based on interviews with more than 1000 white and Negro residents, it sought information that would help answer such questions as these: What is the effect of Negro-white residential proximity on race relations? Does living nearby reduce or intensify any already existing prejudices? What is the nature of the contacts that develop among members of the two races? The findings show in great detail the effects of residential proximity and suggest the underlying reasons for the role that such proximity plays. They reveal, further, the effects of the contact experience itself and the perception of the social climate in the community regarding such contact. The research forms an important sequel to the investigation reported in the book, Interracial Housing, by Deutsch and Collins, confirming some of the basic findings in the earlier study as well as providing new insights. Psychologists, sociologists, social workers, housing officials, and community leaders will find solid evidence here on a subject that has been sparsely documented up to now.
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