chapter  2
24 Pages

An Integrated Threat Theory of Prejudice

WithWalter S. Stephan, Cookie White Stephan

On the "worst of t imes" side of the ledger is the fact that the g reat legislative in i­ tiatives that were designed to improve interg roup re lations are becoming rel ics of the past. Certainly this has happened to school desegregation and the war on pov­ erty, and it appears to be happening with affi rmative action . Of the major legislative in itiatives of the 1 960's, on ly one stands unchal lenged today. Americans are sti l l strongly in favor o f civi l rights. Wh ite Americans general ly ag ree with t he premises underlying the other programs, but they increasingly object to the pol icies that are used to implement them. In a recent book, Kinder and Sanders ( 1 996) present data ind icati ng that attitudes toward government pol icies re lated to race are sharply d i­ vided by race . Nationa l op in ion pol ls ind icate that 90% of African-Americans favor racial preferences in h i ring , but on ly 46% of Wh ites favor such pol ic ies. Simi larly, 80% of African-Americans approve of the use of quotas in col lege admissions, but on ly 30% of Whites approve of quotas. On race-related pub l ic pol icies such as these, the divide between African-Americans and Wh ites is often as high as 50%. Furthermore , Kinder and Sanders bel ieve the opin ion gap between African­ Americans and Whites is growing .