Race, Ethnicity, and Religion

George Yancey

in The Oxford Handbook of Religious Diversity

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195340136
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Race, Ethnicity, and Religion

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  • Comparative Religion
  • Religious Studies



What was the role of religion in the origin and perpetuation of slavery in the United States? How did religion affect the cruel treatment of Native Americans? Has religion had an impact on the fate of immigrants of color as they entered the nation? In short, did religious ideology in general, and Christianity in particular, challenge or support the historically overt racist social structure of the United States? The answer heavily depends on one's perspective on the role of religion. Patterns picked up from historical encounters provide insight, allowing us to understand the contemporary relationship between race and religion. This article explores the idea that a particular religion has been generally used to promote the interests of the racial/ethnic group that promotes it. It discusses early Christianity and white supremacy, the emergence of white racial identity and modern racism, non-Christian expressions of racial protests, and multiracial churches and racial identity.

Keywords: United States; slavery; race; racism; religion; Christianity; white supremacy; racial identity; religious ideology; racial protests

Article.  5785 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Comparative Religion ; Religious Studies

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