A test of racial conceptualization between African Americans and indigenous Africans

Sherle L. Boone, Steven Buyske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Studies were conducted to assess the significance of the concept of race in interpersonal attraction and self-identification comparing African Americans and native Ghanaians. An adaptation of the Bogardus Scale (1926) was used to measure interpersonal attraction. A self-identification questionnaire developed by the principal author was used to measure self-identification. The samples consisted of 366 native Ghanaians residing in Ghana and 113 African Americans residing in Northern New Jersey. The results show that when making judgments about interpersonal attraction to different ethnic and racial groups as well as in self-identification, African American respondents attributed more psychological significance to the concept of race than Ghanaian respondents did. Racial group membership and cultural kinships were strongly related to interpersonal attraction and self-identification for African American respondents. They attributed more significance to racial group membership in judging self-identification and interpersonal attraction toward other African Americans compared with other groups. On the other hand, in judging interpersonal attraction toward other groups, African American respondents attributed more significance to cultural reference factors than racial group membership. Ghanaians perceived nationality and cultural kinships as more significant than racial group membership in their reported interpersonal attraction to groups represented in this work Ghanaian respondents did not perceive racial group membership as a significant factor in making judgments about interpersonal attraction and self-identification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-331
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Identities
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


  • African American
  • Culture
  • Ethnicity
  • Nationality
  • Race
  • Self-identification


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