Let's talk about race, Baby! When Whites' and Blacks' interracial contact experiences diverge

Sophie Trawalter*, Jennifer A. Richeson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study investigated whether the conditions that make interracial contact anxiety-provoking for Whites differ from those that make it anxiety-provoking for Blacks. Specifically, the present work examined interracial anxiety as a function of discussant race (i.e., White or Black) and discussion topic (i.e., race-related or race-neutral). To that end, we examined the nonverbal behavior of White and Black participants during brief interpersonal interactions. Consistent with previous research, White participants behaved more anxiously during interracial than same-race interactions. Additionally, White participants of interracial interaction behaved more anxiously than their Black interaction partners. Furthermore, whereas White participants of interracial interactions found race-related discussions no more stressful than race-neutral discussions, Black participants of interracial interactions found race-related discussions less stressful than race-neutral discussions. The implications of these racial and contextual differences in interracial anxiety for improving interracial contact and race relations, more broadly, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1214-1217
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume44
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2008

Keywords

  • Intergroup anxiety
  • Race relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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