Religion and Race
In Growing Up in America: The Power of Race in the Lives of Teens, the data from the National Study of Youth and Religion is explored from the perspective of race. This blog will point out some highlights from the chapter on religion and race and its comparisons of experiences of Asian-American, African-American, Latino, and white teenagers.
African-American teens show a personalistic absolutism regarding their religious beliefs and commitments. They show a strong belief in the absolute truth of Christianity and Scripture. They were the most likely to see God as someone demanding something from them and a strong authority figure.
White teens show a therapeutic individualism. More than any other group, white kids tend to view God as someone who exists to help them with their problems and make them happy. Religious organizations are not authorities per se, but are viewed by white teens as institutions geared to meet their needs.
Latino teen religiousness can be described as religious familism. Latino teens often report strong religious beliefs but more than any other racial group, this was tied to family relationships rather than a personal commitment.
Asian-American teens manifest a relativistic instrumentalism. Religious involvement and beliefs are expected by parents, and Asian-American teens balance their acquiescence to parental desires with their own beliefs, feelings, and desire (or lack thereof) to participate.
As you think about kids you know, how are these broad descriptions of racial tendencies true for them? In what ways are they not true?
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