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Desegregation Rulings and Public Attitude Changes: White Resistance or Resignation?

Cardell K. Jacobson
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 84, No. 3 (Nov., 1978), pp. 698-705
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2778261
Page Count: 8
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Desegregation Rulings and Public Attitude Changes: White Resistance or Resignation?
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Abstract

Two opposing theoretical arguments about the effect of court rulings on public attitudes are developed and tested using data collected before and after a desegregation ruling in Milwaukee. The social-adjustment argument is supported quite strongly. Parents of children in the public schools became more supportive of integration and busing on several different measures. On the other hand, people without children in the schools became more resistant, and parents of children in parochial schools showed the most negative attitude change. The proximity-resistance argument predicts that more resistance will occur in specific situations than in general situations and that most resistance will occur among those most affected by the decision. No support was found for this argument. The implications of the results are discussed briefly.

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