Patterns of intergroup attitudes in South Africa after 1994
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In the heterogeneous South African society, race has become not only the major organizing principle, but also the primary unit of social analysis. The concept 'intergroup relations' has consequently predominantly been associated with racial relations and 'intergroup attitudes' with 'interracial attitudes'. Interest in South African race relations has furthermore been enhanced by the tumultuous struggle against apartheid. A substantive body of
research acquired during apartheid indeed points to interracial tension. The advent of a new political dispensation in 1994 has been accompanied with expectations that increased intergroup contact, in particular, would result in improved interracial relations. The current study investigates intergroup attitudes after 1994. Three countrywide surveys were conducted in 1998, 2001 and 2009 using representative samples of all major racial groups. The results indicate that overall attitudes were more positive among more affluent and urbanized communities. However, there are indications of prevailing negative relations, in particular between Blacks and Afrikaans-speaking Whites. While the attitudes of Afrikaans speaking Whites seem to have become more positive, that has not been the case to the same extent for Blacks. Blacks also appear to be less positive towards English-speaking Whites than during apartheid. Overall, the results point to more positive intergroup attitudes in
some instances, but also to potential emerging points of tension.