Interracial communication is a genre of communication study that embraces the interactions between people representing different historical races. As such it encompasses the encounters between people in a practical sense—the ordinary engagement of human beings from various racial, cultural, linguistic, and ethnic backgrounds with each other in the quite human activity of social interaction. It also entails the researching of the phenomenon of racial engagement, seeking to determine the problems and prospects of such discursive engagement with people of different racial backgrounds.

One might say that interracial communication is a variety of communication inasmuch as mass communication, interpersonal communication, intercultural communication, cyber communication, and institutional communication are all parts of the same overarching field. What distinguishes each of these discrete subdisciplines from the other represents the defining coin of that particular area. For example, in the case of interracial communication, the defining coin is racial biography itself. This does not mean that race is the only factor that enters the picture in an interpersonal interaction situation; it simply means that a major—perhaps the major—factor involved in a communication experience that is defined as interracial is race itself.

While almost all scientists agree that there is no singular racial worldview and that race itself as a concept has been hierarchically constructed by ruling classes for control and power, it remains a salient, although waning, idea in contemporary society. The old notion of discrete biotic entities was never based on objective variations in language, culture, or social groupings. Rather the race idea eclipsed language and culture and included superficial assessments and judgments based on phenotypes and behaviors. Interracial communication has sought to provide a canvas for themes, issues, and ideas in spite of the lingering presence of antiquated ideas of race. In the United States of America, race has played a fundamental role in shaping policy, behavior, and attitudes despite the lack of science to support race as a valid concept.

Littlejohn, Stephen W and Karen A.Floss. (2009). Encyclopedia of Communication Theory.USA:SAGE.631

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Gayes Mahestu
Edwina Ayu Kustiawan