Intraracial Diversity and Relations among African Americans

Smith, S., & Moore, M. (2000). Intraracial Diversity and Relations among African- Americans: Closeness among Black Students at a Predominately White University. American Journal of Sociology, 106 (1), 1-39.

Terms: Homogeneity, intraracial, socioeconomic status, racial/ethnic identity, intergrative experience

Dependent Variable: Closeness of students

Main Findings: The author’s of the this article conducted a study at a predominately white university among black students to find out if they felt close or distant from other black students in the campus community. Their findings varied depending on how these students viewed themselves in relation to others black students. The study established that feelings of closeness were related to three factors: racial/ethnic identity, socioeconomic status and preadult integrative experience.

According to Smith and Moore bi-racial students were less likely to feel close to black students on campus due to their need to embrace both racial identities. Students that were from low socioeconomic backgrounds were also less likely to feel closeness because of the perception that they were different due the majority of students were from middle or higher socioeconomic backgrounds. Students that have had preadult interracial contact are less likely to feel closeness to the larger black community when consistent positive relationships are not maintained throughout their upbringing. The outcome of this study suggests the homogeneity among blacks should not be assumed and that feelings of closeness are influenced by how much individuals see themselves as the same with relation to their social, cultural, and economic experiences.

Comments: This article was very interesting to me, and although the study was based on a small isolated population, I would be interested in knowing if the findings are representative of the Black population as a whole