Researchers at Baylor University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Southern California examined the differences in attitudes and opinions of African Americans who belonged to multiracial church congregations with those of members of predominantly Black congregations.
The study’s focus was explanations for socioeconomic differences between Blacks and Whites in the United States. Previous research showed that Blacks and Hispanics point to discrimination as a cause of Black disadvantage, while Whites often emphasize personal motivation as a cause, researchers said. But inside multiracial congregations, explanations for inequality become more similar across groups, coming to resemble the views of the Whites.
Ryon Cobb, a National Institute on Aging postdoctoral fellow at Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California and the lead author of the study, stated that “for Blacks and Hispanics, affiliation with racially diverse congregations costs them a perspective on racial inequality that is distinct from their White counterparts within and outside their racially diverse congregation.”
Dr. Cobb holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Indiana University in Bloomington. He earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in sociology at Florida State University.
Kevin Dougherty, an associate professor of sociology at Baylor University, adds that “we want to believe that multiracial congregations promote a shared, integrated identity for all. But the truth may be that many are advancing a form of Anglo-conformity instead.”
The study, “United by Faith? Race/Ethnicity, Congregational Diversity, and Explanations of Racial Inequality,” was published in the Summer 2015 issue of the journal Sociology of Religion. It may be accessed here.