protest. For those who feel deprived of the equal coverage to which they feel entitled by the terms of the contract, violent protests may be seen as the only means of being heard by an otherwise deaf society. The costs may be great, but there may be positive consequences to these acts of violence if they serve as an effective vehicle for alerting others in society of their grievances. Of course, those who have reaped the benefits of this bifurcated contract will likely be more aware of the violence and destruction caused by the social protests than of the causes underlying it -- and they will tend to view the protesters not as rebels or insurrectionists but merely as criminals who openly violate one of the most sacred provisions of the social contract. To the extent that the larger society associates an entire group of individuals with violent protests, it may become even less willing to consider the legitimate grievances of those who engage in them. Such is the dilemma of race and the American social contract.
Funding for this study and for one of the surveys ( 1992) on which it is based was provided by the National Science Foundation (grant no. SES-9112799), which bears no responsibility for the analyses and interpretations presented here.