(WP-02-S99) "Race, Class and Whites' Stereotypes about Blacks: A Survey-Based Experiment"
Lawrence Bobo
 

 

 

 

Although many aspects of the declining significance of race thesis have been debated, few would challenge the claim that the size of the Black middle class has expanded substantially since the 1960s. Less clear is whether the fact of greater class heterogeneity in the Black community has affected Whites' stereotypes of Blacks. Using newly collected national survey data and a survey-based experiment manipulation, we assess the impact of information on class background on Whites' stereotypes about Blacks. The results show that beliefs about middle income Blacks are uniformly more positive than those about low income Blacks; that highly educated Whites are particularly sensitive to information on class background; but also that the general stereotypes about Blacks as a group, irrespective of class background, still have important and wide ranging social effects. We consider the implications of the research for understanding and theorizing about the modern dynamics of race.