Posts Tagged ‘Ethnic Diversity’

Racial diversity and American religion

August 2, 2015


We Unitarian Universalists value diversity and try to welcome all people, regardless of race.  So why are we so much more racially homogeneous than the Seventh Day Adventists and the Jehovah’s Witnesses?

I think the reason is that the intensity of the Adventists’ and Witnesses’ belief in their dogmas makes other considerations, such as race, unimportant.  The same thing is true of the Bahai.

We UUs are a big tent in terms of religious belief (even if relatively few people are under it).  But a non-creedal religion is something that college-educated white people tend to want more than people of other ethnicities and backgrounds do.

Should we give up our distinctive trait in order to broaden our appeal?  I don’t think that anybody—white or black—would want to affiliate with a group of people who are embarrassed about what they are.

One question that this chart raises is whether diversity within groups is compatible with diversity among groups.

I wouldn’t want to see the African Methodist Episcopal Church or the National Baptist Convention give up their identity as black churches.  And I don’t see how you could have a strong AME Church if the United Methodists recruited a large number of their members.

Likewise, it may be the case that the Missouri Synod Lutherans or the Evangelical Lutheran Church have traditions thjat are more meaningful to Germans or German-Americans than to the general public..

Religion is supposed to express universal values, but these values are rooted in particular heritages.  Get rid of these heritages and there might not be much left.


The most and least racially diverse U.S. religious groups by Pew Research.

Racism and diversity: country comparisons

August 15, 2013

Double click to enlarge.

Here is a Washington Post map showing the United States among the leading nations, and not in a bad way.

The United States is one of the nations in which the idea of racism is least acceptable.

That doesn’t mean that Americans are free of racial prejudice.  Far from it.  Surveys show that, all other things being equal, a black person is less likely than a white person to get a job—in fact, a white person with a criminal record has a better chance of getting a job than a comparable black person with a clean record.  Mayor Bloomberg of New York City justified singling out black people to “stop and frisk”.

Somebody took a video of a white person and a black person trying to break the chain on a locked bicycle.  Passers-by assumed that the white person had a legitimate reason and that the black person was a criminal.

Then, too, the question is over-simple as a measure of racism.  Southern white racists in an earlier era liked associating with black people, provided that the blacks were deferential and “knew their place.”

Still, I think it is significant that the idea of racism is no longer acceptable in the United States and many other countries.  I have lived long enough to remember when this wasn’t true.

It’s a bit surprising to me that people in India are so frank about not wanting to be around people of a different race.   I read somewhere that the Hindi word for “race” is similar to the word for “caste,” so maybe what the Indians were saying is that they don’t want to live next to somebody of a lower or different caste.

What does count as a race?  I imagine the answers reflect Jordanian Arabs’ feelings about Jews, and Vietnamese feelings about Chinese, even though outsiders might see them as members of the same race.

I have read that the Japanese value racial purity and treat Koreans and other minorities as second-class citizens.  Maybe the results would have been different if the question had been about what kinds of people you would tolerate marrying into your family.

Another Washington Post map, below, shows that ethnic diversity is not necessarily a cure for racism.