Prof. Dina Okamoto was awarded a major grant from the Russell Sage Foundation for a project on immigrant-native relations in 21st-century America.
Prof. Dina Okamoto was awarded a $368,596 grant from the Russell Sage Foundation for a project entitled "Immigrant-Native Relations in 21st Century America: Intergroup Contact, Trust, and Civic Engagement" with Michael-Jones Correa (Political Science), Linda Tropp (Psychology), and Helen Marrow (Sociology). The notable increase in immigration in the U.S. over the past half century, coupled with its recent geographic dispersion into new communities nationwide, has fueled contact across a wider set of individuals and groups than ever before.
However, the consequences of contact within this context of ethnic diversity, particularly for key social outcomes such as trust and civic engagement, are far from clear. In this project, we seek to integrate discussions of immigration into ongoing debates about contact and ethnic diversity, by investigating where and how contact occurs between immigrant and native groups, and how their contact in turn predicts trust and civic engagement. The novel design of our project extends prior work by examining (a) how contact is experienced from the perspectives of both immigrant and native groups; (b) how differences in status and context contribute to shaping immigrant and native contact experiences; and (c) how their varied contact experiences predict trust and civic engagement in our multi-ethnic society. To accomplish these goals, we will conduct a large-scale survey and in-depth interviews in two metropolitan areas—Philadelphia and Atlanta—among two immigrant groups, Mexicans and South Asian Indians, and two native-born groups, blacks and whites. We will examine their intergroup contact experiences across different social spaces (workplace, neighborhood, public space) and include status markers beyond race and socioeconomic status, such as religion, skin tone, citizenship and legal status, and language, to see how they contribute to immigrant and native reports of intergroup contact, trust, and civic engagement.