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A National Conversation About Race? Political Discussion Across Lines of Racial and Partisan Difference

  • William P. Eveland (a1) and Osei Appiah (a1)


Dialogue about race-based topics is essential to combat prejudice, foster mutual understanding, and improve race relations. This study describes the extent to which political conversations—especially those about race-related topics—are taking place within and across racial and political groups. This national survey with a Black oversample found racially diverse discussion networks to be more likely among Blacks than Whites, but politically diverse networks to be more likely among Whites than Blacks. Blacks were more likely than Whites to talk about race-related topics such as police treatment of Blacks (and less likely about several topics not explicitly tied to race), but by no means did Whites entirely avoid race-related topics, even in their same-race discussions. Moreover, there was evidence that discussion in cross-race dyads affected the mix of topics Whites and Blacks discussed, revealing the potential for cross-race interaction to alter political agendas. Rather than being less likely to talk about police treatment of Blacks with Blacks, Whites were more likely to discuss this topic when in mixed-race dyads, while Blacks talked about it less often with Whites than with other Blacks. Findings are discussed in the context of political disagreement and intergroup contact theory.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: William P. Eveland, The Ohio State University, 3016 Derby Hall, 154 N. Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210, 614.247.6004. E-mail:


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A National Conversation About Race? Political Discussion Across Lines of Racial and Partisan Difference

  • William P. Eveland (a1) and Osei Appiah (a1)


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