Social Contextual Strategies for Reducing Racial Discrimination
Marylee C. Taylor The Pennsylvania State University
Just as the social context can encourage interracial hostility and inequality, so contextual patterns and events can contribute to reducing racial prejudice and discrimination. This chapter considers two forms of racial inequality amenable to policy remedies-residential segregation and employment discrimination. It then outlines four factors that can foster public support for effective remedies: institutional leadership, media framing, political discourse, and economic security among Whites.
Intergroup contact is no panacea for individuals' negative attitudes and discriminatory behaviors. Pettigrew and Tropp's chapter in this volume describes conditions under which contact yields positive outcomes. As a complement to that analysis, this chapter identifies institutional mechanisms that have the potential to decrease residential segregation. With decreases in residential segregation may come increases in forms of interpersonal contact that enhance positive attitudes. But whether or not residential desegregation improves neighbors' racial feelings and attitudes, it predictably brings other forms of improvement -- it weakens many structurally-linked forms of discrimination. Discrimination, in the sociological sense, is:
a complex system of social relations that produces intergroup inequities in social outcomes...(D)isadvantage accruing from intentional discrimination typically cumu-