Monday, March 17, 2008

Are race relations improving? Even on the road, I can't resist analyzing data. My sense is that blacks as a group have developed more positive attitudes about whites in recent years, but with preachers like Wright still going strong, maybe I'm mistaken.

The GSS asked blacks how close they felt to white, with answers ranging from "not at all" (0) through "not one way or the other" (5) to "very close" (9). Here are the means:

Mean closeness score

1996 5.65
2006 6.00

Blacks lean on the positive side, and have moved one-sixth of a standard deviation farther in that direction in the past decade. Maybe black views have softened since the times of Rodney King, O.J., and Farrakhan.

And while we're at it, how about whites toward blacks?

Mean closeness score

1996 5.10
2006 5.50

Whites are more neutral, but have moved in the positive direction as well--about one-fifth of a standard deviation.

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