chapter  7
36 Pages

Opportunity for Blacks

WithJames R. Kluegel, Eliot R. Smith

In this chapter, the authors examine beliefs about opportunity for blacks and attitudes toward equal opportunity programs. Busing for desegregation of public schools has met overwhelming and sometimes violent opposition by the white public. The measure of the perceived trend in black opportunity is also a zero-one variable indicating whether (1) or not (0) a respondent believes that opportunity for blacks has improved greatly in the last 10–20 years. Why, when there is seemingly strong evidence that the racial beliefs and attitudes of white Americans have become more liberal, are equal opportunity policy and programs involving blacks so controversial and so strongly opposed in public opinion? Judged by the reaction of whites to programs to implement equality of educational and economic opportunity, however, recognition of extensive race prejudice as part of our recent history has not brought with it broad support for assistance to blacks in the effort to achieve economic parity with whites.