Race and Faith in Multiethnic Communities and Churches

“… of multiethnic Christian communities challenge or reproduce racial inequality in American cities that have recently experienced high racial tensions. ”

Team Members/Contributors

Tony Tian-Ren Lin Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture Contact Me

About this award

The numbers of multiethnic churches and communities have risen over the last 25 years largely as a response to the racial inequality dividing the nation. While recent studies have shed some light on these communities, sociologists Michael Emerson and his colleagues believe that we need new research on the ways that race, religion, and inequality intersect, particularly in multiethnic contexts. This project seeks to understand the theological and cultural sources that multiethnic Christian communities draw from to shape their adherents’ views of racial inequality. Through interviews, focus groups, and analysis of sermons and church materials we hope to make sense of the ways that congregations equip parishioners to challenge or reproduce racial inequality in America. We will also compare the effects of multiethnic churches to multiethnic residential communities. This comparison will reveal the difference between Christians who share a church with those who share a neighborhood across racial divides. This project will focus on communities that have recently experienced racial conflict, such as Ferguson/St. Louis, MO; Baltimore, MD; Charlotte, NC; Tulsa, OK; and Charleston, SC. As America is irreversibly on track to become a majority minority nation by the 2040s, multiethnic communities could provide a glimpse at this future and offer a hopeful path forward to live and thrive with our racial ethnic differences.