social contact of minority parents and their children's acceptance by classmates

Download Social Contact of Minority Parents and Their Children's Acceptance by Classmates

Post on 31-Jan-2017

212 views

Category:

Documents

0 download

Embed Size (px)

TRANSCRIPT

  • Social Contact of Minority Parents and Their Children's Acceptance by ClassmatesAuthor(s): Ruben Orive and Harold B. GerardSource: Sociometry, Vol. 38, No. 4 (Dec., 1975), pp. 518-524Published by: American Sociological AssociationStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2786364 .Accessed: 28/06/2014 08:59

    Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

    .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.

    .

    American Sociological Association is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access toSociometry.

    http://www.jstor.org

    This content downloaded from 78.24.216.166 on Sat, 28 Jun 2014 08:59:42 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

    http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=asahttp://www.jstor.org/stable/2786364?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

  • Sociometry 1975, Vol. 38, No. 4, 518-524

    Social Contact of Minority Parents and Their Children's Acceptance by Classmates*

    RUBEN ORIVE HAROLD B. GERARD

    University of California, Los Angeles

    A study of the relationship between sociometric choices received by Mexican-American and black children from anglo peers and the amount of the minority parents' contact with own and other ethnic group members indicates that only father contacts were significantly related to the minority child's acceptance. Child sex differences and type of father contact interacted in determining anglo peer acceptance. Father's involvement in organizations was significantly related to a boy's acceptance whereas less contact for father with relatives was related to a girl's acceptance. This was found to hold regardless of family socioeconomic status.

    Research on social contact has virtually overlooked the possibility that the attitudes and beliefs about the majority group held by minority group members may in some cases be a contributing factor in the failure to achieve social acceptance by the majority group in racial integration attempts (cf. Amir, 1969). Cohen (1967), in a study of the effects of racial isolation in public schools on later adult social contact, reports that both whites and blacks who had attended racially isolated schools when young, were likely as adults to "express fear, distrust, and hostility toward members of the other race." This was found to hold regardless of their socioeconomic status.

    By the time a person reaches adult age, racial attitudes are likely to be well established. For the minority child, withdrawal into his own group does, however, take place gradually (Criswell, 1939). This withdrawal parallels the development of racial attitudes. Own-group

    *Much of the research reported in this paper was supported by USPHS Grant number HD-06255. The authors are indebted to Terrence Jackson and Peter Lenz for their invaluable help.

    518

    This content downloaded from 78.24.216.166 on Sat, 28 Jun 2014 08:59:42 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

    http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

  • MINORITY SOCIAL CONTACT 519

    identification appears at an early age among minority children and is often tainted by negative evaluations placed on their own group (Clark and Clark, 1947; Green and Gerard, 1974) relative to the majority group. Parental attitudes and behavior probably represent the primary influence in this process of internalization. These racial attitudes, in turn, presumably influence how children interact with others in interracial contexts.

    Parents who rarely associate with outgroup members may not be able to model appropriate behavior for their children, and as a result, the children may react with feelings of uneasiness when meeting majority group members who tend to differ from them in appearance, language, and social behavior. Williams contends that "a certain amount of intergroup prejudice does not express a specific ethnic dislike so much as a generalized timidity and feeling of awkwardness in coping with unfamiliar situations and unknown people (1964:100)." Thus, the minority child's success in establishing friendly interpersonal relationships with majority group members may depend to some extent on the degree to which his parents have developed outgroup contact. In addition, as the parent spends more of his time with outgroup members, contact with the ingroup should decline. Reasoning backwards, if the minority child's ability to cope with the school situation is influenced by his racial attitudes and if these attitudes are influenced primarily by parents whose attitudes are, in turn, shaped by their contacts, it should follow that a minority child will be more accepted in the mixed classroom to the extent that his parents have contacts beyond their ingroup.

    Method The sample included 322 Mexican-American and 227 black

    children (272 boys and 277 girls) in Riverside (California) School District, who had recently been desegregated and who were in first through sixth grade and had fathers who were heads of their households.'

    From a questionnaire individually administered to both parents of each sample child, items pertaining to ingroup and outgroup social contact were analyzed to determine their relationships to the child's social acceptance. The measure of mixed-ethnic organization

    1 These data were collected as part of a larger study assessing the effects of school desegregation in Riverside. A volume reporting the full study is currently in press (Gerard and Miller, 1975).

    This content downloaded from 78.24.216.166 on Sat, 28 Jun 2014 08:59:42 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

    http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

  • 520 SOCIOMETRY

    membership was based on answers to three questions relating to degree of involvement with organizations that included members of all three ethnic groups. We derived a measure of contact with relatives from the parents' answers to four questions reflecting the degree of involvement with and amount of time spent with relatives. The total number of sociometric choices received by the child for friendship, playing, and schoolwork situations was used as the measure of social acceptance. Because this study as well as others (e.g., Asubel, 1958) indicates that the child largely chooses peers of the same sex, only same-sex preferences were analyzed. In actuality cross-sex choices represented only a very small proportion of total choices made. Since previous studies (Bonney, 1944: Grossman and Wrighter, 1948; Thorpe, 1955) and the present one show a positive relationship between socioeconomic (SES) and sociometric status, we attempted to control for the effects of SES on social acceptance by assigning minority families to upper and lower SES categories based on an equal frequency dichotomy of the Duncan (1950) SES index for father's occupation.

    Results Tables 1 and 2 show that greater father (F = 5.75, df = 1/190, p <

    .025) but not mother (F = 2.05, df = 1/264, n.s.) mixed-ethnic

    TABLE 1

    Effects of Father's Membership in Organizations and Socioeconomic Status (SES) on Anglo Peer Acceptance

    of Minority Boys and Girls

    Ethnic Group

    Father's Membership in Organizations SES Mexican-American Black

    Boys High High 5.50* (20)** 8.71 (14)

    Low 5.23 (22) 3.47 (15) Low High 4.95 (43) 3.81 (31)

    Low 4.50 (38) 3.87 (15) Girls

    High High 5.45 (11) 3.75 (12) Low 2.83 (30) 3.31 (26)

    Low High 3.73 (44) 2.71 (21) Low 5.32 (44) 2.67 (15)

    *Mean number of total (friendship, play and work) choices received from same-sex classmates. **Number of children in cell.

    This content downloaded from 78.24.216.166 on Sat, 28 Jun 2014 08:59:42 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

    http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

  • MINORITY SOCIAL CONTACT 521 TABLE 2

    Effects of Mother's Membership in Organizations and Socioeconomic Status (SES) on Anglo Peer Acceptance

    of Minority Boys and Girls

    Ethnic Group

    Mothers' Membership in Organizations SES Mexican-American Black Boys

    High High 5.72* (36)** 6.36 (36) Low 4.16 (32) 4.13 (15)

    Low High 4.63 (52) 3.74 (34) Low 5.42 (38) 3.13 (29)

    Girls High High 3.27 (33) 3.69 (32)

    Low 4.67 (45) 2.60 (30) Low High 4.19 (42) 2.71 (31)

    Low 4.16 (44) 2.95 (20)

    *Mean number of total (friendship, play and work) choices received from same-sex classmates. **Number of children in cell.

    organization contact appears to promote peer group acceptance of the minority boys.2 No such relationship, however, was obtained for minority girls. Neither father nor mother contact affected the social status of the girls (both F values were less than 1.0). Popularity of boys showed a slight but non-significant effect of SES (F = 3.02, df = 1/190, p < .10) which primarily reflects the high popularity of some high father contact-high SES black boys. No SES effects were obtained for father's contact and girl's acceptance or for mother's contact and acceptance of either boys or girls. (All three F's were less than 1.0.)

    Similarly, the analysis of contact with relatives3 (see Tables 3 and

    2Analysis of variance was the only feasible method of analysis since the contact variable was severely truncated. Nearly half of the parents belonged to no organizat