Race, Class, and Culture: A Study in Afro-American Mass Opinion

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Race is arguably the most profound and enduring cleavage in American society and politics. This book examines the sources and dynamics of the race cleavage in American society through a detailed analysis of intergroup and intragroup differences at the level of mass opinion. The ethclass theory, which examines the intersection of ethnicity and class, is used to analyze interracial differences in mass attitudes. This analysis yields three clusters of opinion that distinguish African Americans from whites -- religiosity, interpersonal alienation, and political liberalism. The authors then examine the intragroup sources of these opinion differences among blacks in terms of class, gender, age, region, and religion. While the authors demonstrate an embryonic trend of more black middle class opinion agreement with whites, the book confirms the ethclass character of the black experience whereby race and race consciousness are still more significant than class in shaping black attitudes.

Given the growing class bifurcation in black America and the continuing debate about its significance in shaping black attitudes and behavior, this book offers a refreshing new analysis of the homogeneity as well as heterogeneity of black mass public opinion.
 

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Contents

Theoretical Perspectives╣
1
The Patterning of Racial Differences in Mass Culture
29
Class and the Patterning of Racial Differences in Mass Culture
43
The Internal Foundations of AfroAmerican Mass Culture
85
AfroAmerican Culture and the Internal Dynamics of Mass Opinion
119
Conclusion
139
Appendix
153
Notes
161
References
177
Index
195
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About the author (1992)

Robert C. Smith is Professor of Political Science at San Francisco State University.

Richard Seltzer is Associte Professor of Political Science at Howard University.