A Paradox of Integration? Interracial Contact, Prejudice Reduction, and Perceptions of Racial Discrimination


  • This research was funded by grants awarded to the first author by the ESRC in the United Kingdom (RES-000-22-1750) and to the second author by the NRF in South Africa.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Dr. John Dixon, Department of Psychology, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YF, United Kingdom [e-mail: j.a.dixon1@lancaster.ac.uk].


A random digit dialing survey (N = 596) investigated the relationship between quantity and quality of interracial contact and Black South Africans’ perceptions of racial discrimination in postapartheid society. Results showed that harmonious contact was associated with lower levels of perceived collective discrimination, an effect that was mediated by racial attitudes and personal experiences of racial discrimination. The implications of the survey's findings are discussed in relation to two models of social change in social psychology (cf.Wright & Lubensky, 2008): a model of change grounded in the rehabilitation of the prejudiced individual and a model of social change grounded in collective awareness of, and resistance to, systemic inequality.