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A DREAM DEFERRED?: Privileged Blacks’ and Whites’ Beliefs about Racial Inequality

  • Jason E. Shelton (a1)

The goal of this paper is to determine whether a privileged class position operates similarly in shaping Blacks’ and Whites’ beliefs about the causes of racial inequality. Existing studies have established that socioeconomic variation drives intraracial differences in commitments to individualistic and structural attributions. However, scholars have yet to determine whether Blacks and Whites positioned at some of the highest levels of the American class structure report corresponding beliefs about the roots of racial disparities. Pooled data from the 1985–2012 General Social Surveys indicate that class-based attitudinal differences are more prevalent and pronounced among Whites rather than Blacks. However, a privileged class position often operates similarly in shaping commitments to select structural attributions. The implications of the findings are discussed, and suggestions for future research are offered.

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* Corresponding author: Jason E. Shelton, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, 601 Nedderman Drive Room #430, Arlington, Texas 76019. Office Phone: (817) 272–3800; Fax: (817) 272–3759; E-mail:
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Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race
  • ISSN: 1742-058X
  • EISSN: 1742-0598
  • URL: /core/journals/du-bois-review-social-science-research-on-race
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