Intergroup contact and attitudes toward the principle and practice of racial equality

John Dixon, Kevin Durrheim, Colin Tredoux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

212 Citations (Scopus)


Research on racial attitudes indicates that acceptance of the principle of racial equality is frequently offset by opposition to policies designed to eliminate injustice. At the same time, research on the contact hypothesis indicates that positive interaction between groups erodes various kinds of prejudiced attitudes. Integrating these two traditions of research, this study examined whether or not interracial contact reduces the principle-implementation gap in racial attitudes. The study comprised a random-digit-dialing survey of the attitudes and contact experiences of White and Black South Africans (N = 1,917). The results suggest that among Whites, there remains a stubborn core of resistance to policies designed to rectify the injustices of apartheid. The results also indicate that interracial contact has differential, and somewhat paradoxical, effects on the attitudes of Whites and Blacks toward practices aimed at achieving racial justice. ©

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)867-872
Number of pages6
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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