Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Indiana University
- A greater number of interracial friendships is associated with more positive racial attitudes.
- Female students and those with more interracial friendships experience a faster rate of increase in their endorsement of affirmative action policies over their college careers.
- Individuals growing up in more racially homogeneous neighborhoods expressed less support for affirmative action and politically conservative students had lower support for both affirmative action and feelings of commonality.
In the article, “Interracial Friendship and the Trajectory of Prominority Attitudes: Assessing Intergroup Contact Theory,” Bohmert examines the trajectory of racial attitude change among white university students, over a four-year period. Bohmert assesses the impact of two types of intergroup contact – interracial friendships and neighborhood racial context – on two types of racial attitudes: those supportive of affirmative action and feelings of commonality with minorities. Bohmert concludes that over time, support for affirmative action increased with additional intergroup contact, while feelings of commonality did not. Bohmert adds that further research is needed on this subject, as the sample of students was limited to white students in the mid-1990s and the racial climate has grown increasingly, and more recent views may reflect that growth.