Crossing Boundaries: How Intergroup Contact Can Reduce Racial Anxiety and Improve Race Relations

Psychology Benefits Society

Crossing boundaries

This is part of our ongoing series of blog posts about race, racism and law enforcement in communities of color.

By Linda R. Tropp, PhD (University of Massachusetts Amherst) and Rachel D. Godsil (Seton Hall University School of Law)

Most Americans agree that people of all races and ethnicities deserve equal treatment and respect. Yet constant news reports and personal experiences show us that race and ethnicity continue to affect how people are treated and how they interact with each other. We know that racial prejudice impacts our lives and our communities in a major way. But prejudice alone cannot fully account for all racial dynamics, including cases where people of color may experience differential treatment by Whites.  We must acknowledge the impact of racial anxiety, i.e., the discomfort people feel in anticipation of or during interracial interactions.

The truth is most of us are concerned about how we might be…

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