Blacks and Whites in Christian America: How Racial Discrimination Shapes Religious Convictions

Blacks and Whites in Christian America: How Racial Discrimination Shapes Religious Convictions

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by Jason E. Shelton, Michael O. Emerson
     
 

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2012 Winner of the C. Calvin Smith Award presented by the Southern Conference on African American Studies, Inc.

2014 Honorable Mention for the Distinguished Book Award presented by the American Sociological Association's Sociology of Religion Section

Conventional wisdom holds that Christians, as members of

Overview

2012 Winner of the C. Calvin Smith Award presented by the Southern Conference on African American Studies, Inc.

2014 Honorable Mention for the Distinguished Book Award presented by the American Sociological Association's Sociology of Religion Section

Conventional wisdom holds that Christians, as members of a
“universal” religion, all believe more or less the same things when it comes to their faith. Yet black and white Christians differ in significant ways, from their frequency of praying or attending services to whether they regularly read the Bible or believe in Heaven or Hell.

In this engaging and accessible sociological study of white and black Christian beliefs, Jason E. Shelton and Michael O.
Emerson push beyond establishing that there are racial differences in belief and practice among members of American
Protestantism to explore why those differences exist. Drawing on the most comprehensive and systematic empirical analysis of African American religious actions and beliefs to date, they delineate five building blocks of black Protestant faith which have emerged from the particular dynamics of American race relations. Shelton and Emerson find that
America’s history of racial oppression has had a deep and fundamental effect on the religious beliefs and practices of blacks and whites across America.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a book about the religion of a people whose 'back is against the wall,' to quote Howard Thurmond, the African American theologian. Shelton and Emerson show how blacks, from slavery down to the present, have re-envisioned Christianity—a religion that was once used to give moral legitimacy to slavery—into a faith that has provided meaning, inspiration, and hope as they struggle to affirm their humanity and achieve racial justice."-Stephen Steinberg,Distinguished Professor of Urban Studies, Queens College

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814722763
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
10/08/2012
Series:
Religion and Social Transformation Series
Pages:
290
Sales rank:
1,091,878
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

"Blacks and Whites in Christian America is a major sociological examination of religion and race. Jason Shelton and Michael Emerson carefully document and analyze differences between black and white Americans in how they practice and express their Christian faith. They identify the enduring ways that the tragic American habit of racial oppression and privilege has worked to create a distinctive black sacred cosmos. With excellent national survey data and powerful supplemental interviews, they show the key building blocks and dynamics of the racialized religious experience in America. This book is a must read for anyone serious about understanding the interplay of race, religion, and American character."-Lawrence D. Bobo,W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of Social Sciences, Harvard

"This is a book about the religion of a people whose 'back is against the wall,' to quote Howard Thurmond, the African American theologian. Shelton and Emerson show how blacks, from slavery down to the present, have re-envisioned Christianity—a religion that was once used to give moral legitimacy to slavery—into a faith that has provided meaning, inspiration, and hope as they struggle to affirm their humanity and achieve racial justice."-Stephen Steinberg,Distinguished Professor of Urban Studies, Queens College

Meet the Author


Jason E. Shelton is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas at Arlington. Dr. Shelton's articles have appeared in Social Science Quarterly, Du Bois Review, Sociological Perspectives, Journal of African American Studies, and other respected publications.

Michael O. Emerson is Allyn and Gladys Cline Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University. He is author or co-author of several books, including Divided By Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America, Transcending Racial Barriers, and Against All Odds: The Struggle for Racial Integration in Religious Organizations (NYU Press, 2005).

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Blacks and Whites in Christian America: How Racial Discrimination Shapes Religious Convictions 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
1971GW More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book. It has scholarly depth yet is written in a manner that is accessible to the lay person. The authors demonstrate that adherence to the same religious principles and sect can occur for a number of reasons that, for example cross race lines. This book should be widely read and incorporated into scholarly and policy concerns. George Wilson, University of Miami
adgreene06 More than 1 year ago
Shelton and Emerson’s "Blacks and Whites in Christian America” takes a significant analytical approach to the understanding the nexus between religion and race in America. The historical significance of how religion was used for the justification of racial oppression and inferiority toward African Americans, while at the same time being reinterpreted to be a source for liberation and freedom remains a fascinating story within American history. As such, there is the continuance of religion as the epicenter for African American culture. Ironically, understanding the racial and cultural differences within Christianity remains as one of those unspoken, untold stories that society just accepts. Similarly to other social institutions, Shelton and Emerson delve into the many reasons of how and why religion remains racialized. This book is a must read for those who study, teach, and are generally interested in religion, race, and the interconnectedness between the two.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago