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Interracial Contact and Social Change

George Yancey
Interracial Contact and Social Change
ISBN: 978-1-58826-508-1
ISBN: 978-1-58826-948-5
2007/181 pages/LC: 2006035876

"Yancey masterfully details the promises and pitfalls of interracial contact in the 21st century. Tight, solid, gutsy ... an outstanding contribution to understanding our collective human future."—David Brunsma, University of Missouri-Columbia


In this thought-provoking analysis, George Yancey reevaluates the controversial "contact hypothesis" as he explores if and when interracial contact can combat the racial animosity and inequality permeating US society.

Yancey draws on quantitative and qualitative investigations of interracial religious congregations, families, and friendships to demonstrate that extensive interactions with people of color can alter the racial attitudes of whites. In the process, he challenges the assumption that contact necessarily results in people of color assimilating white values and culture: it may strengthen their socioeconomic positions, but it does not subvert their racial identity. Contact, Yancey concludes, is not a panacea for society's racial ills—but it is a vital supplement to the structural changes that must occur.


George Yancey is professor of sociology at Baylor University. He is author of Who is White?: Latinos, Asians, and the New Black/Nonblack Divide.


  • Contact: Part of the Problem, or the Solution?
  • The Potential Effects of Interracial Contact.
  • Where is Interracial Contact the Most Powerful?
  • Does Interracial Contact Change Racial Attitudes?
  • Pathways to Change.
  • Interracial Contact and People of Color.
  • Conclusion: Supporting Change.