Interethnic and intraethnic contacts of Israeli students were analyzed in terms of congruent and incongruent perception and acceptance. The sample comprised 112 higher status majority students and 48 lower status minority students, from the seventh, eighth, and ninth grades of a desegregated junior high school, who rated their classroom climate and their readiness to maintain close contact with classmates. Results indicate that (a) direct ratings of ethnic climate showed a symmetrical and positive description of ethnic contact; (b) indirect measures of cross-ethnic interaction showed an incongruous ethnic contact (the minority tended to deemphasize the social differences between itself and the majority, whereas the majority felt free to indicate the differences between itself and the minority); (c) prolonged and close ethnic contact was associated with improved ethnic relations in spite of these group differences. These data seem to indicate that whenever the majority served as a normative reference group for members of the minority, perceived ethnic climate in class may have reflected considerations of social status and social aspirations, as well as the measures used, rather than actual ethnic differences or openness.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology