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.
- Intergroup anxiety
- Race relations
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science