September 11, 2001, William Julius Wilson, racial attitudes, prejudice


In The Declining Significance of Race, William Julius Wilson (1980) stated social class was more influential than race in determining social outcomes for Blacks. This thesis remains a controversial centerpiece among race scholars. This paper examines one part of the overall puzzle of American race relations: white racial attitudes since September 11, 2001. Using Wilson's declining significance of race thesis, I question if white racial attitudes toward Blacks declined significantly from 2002 to 2004. If social class exerts greater influence on social indicators than race in the coming years, will racial prejudice, particularly toward Blacks, also decline in significance? What happens to white racial prejudice toward Blacks when a highly racialized national crisis occurs? Does racial prejudice heighten and become more significant or, as Wilson suggested, does it decline?

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