Understanding semantic differential measures in modern South Africa: attitudes of black Africans towards white South Africans

SOURCE: South African Journal of Psychology
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2017
TITLE AUTHOR(S): S.L.Gordon
KEYWORDS: POST APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICA, RACE RELATIONS, RACIAL SEGREGATION, SEMANTICS, SOUTH AFRICAN SOCIAL ATTITUDES SURVEY (SASAS)
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 10024

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Abstract

The future success of South Africa's unique democracy depends on the development of harmonious race relations. Understanding the factors underlying the country's interracial attitudes is, consequently, important. Social identity theory suggests that Black African attitudes towards White people are connected to their evaluations of South Africa's other racial minorities. This thesis seems counter intuitive given that White people are associated with a long history of political, economic, and social oppression in the collective memory of many Black African communities. Nationally representative data from the South African Social Attitudes Survey were used to validate the thesis that Black Africans' evaluations of White people correlated with their assessments of other racial groups. Pairwise correlation analysis was employed to test the article's hypothesis. The results presented in this article showed that Black Africans' evaluations towards the White minority correlated with their evaluations of other racial minorities in South Africa. Multivariate analysis, specifically a standard (ordinary least squares) linear regression, was used to confirm the bivariate analysis. Black Africans' attitudes towards White people were strongly correlated with attitudes towards the country's two other major racial minorities. This finding held even controlling for contact with White people as well as a range of socio-economic characteristics. The outcomes of this article invite closer examination of the factors that underlie the generality of outgroup evaluations among South Africa's Black African majority.