Amidst widespread demographic change in South Los Angeles, the issue of African American and Latino relations has become a frequent topic of discussion among local residents, media and researchers. However, little academic research has empirically assessed residents' own perceptions of "Black-Brown" relations in this community, nor have researchers investigated behavioral or communicative factors that might influence perceptions of intergroup relations. Drawing from discrete yet complementary theoretical frameworks - Allport's (1954) contact hypothesis, and Communication Infrastructure Theory (Kim & Ball-Rokeach, 2006) - this study uses data from a survey of over 800 South Los Angeles residents to explore intergroup dynamics. The introduction of communication theory into intergroup contact research responds, in part, to those who have called for work that situates intergroup contact research within a broader social context. Findings of the study suggest support for the influence of interpersonal contact on intergroup perceptions, with these effects more pronounced for Latinos than African Americans. In addition, several communication-related variables - including a measure of neighborhood belonging and residents' connections to local storytellers (interpersonal networks, local media, and community organizations) - demonstrated a significant, and in some instances negative, influence on intergroup perceptions. While the findings are specific to the community of South Los Angeles, this research has implications for the growing number of multiethnic urban communities across the United States and around the world.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business and International Management
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science