Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Organic diversity is a reoccurring need in today’s churches. And, it forms a large part of my consultation practice. I have developed a process which I put into a book I co-authored with multicultural expert Mark DeYmaz, titled “ReMix: Transitioning your church living color.”
One of the most important steps is to understand how different generations view diversity. Here’s an important article that explains how Generation Z wants to talk about, discuss and analyze views arising from different ethnic backgrounds. According to this research the old Baby Boomer adage, “Don’t bring race into this!” might be the opposite of what Generation Z really wants.
Young people flourish where faith leaders see color
By Nabil Tueme, Religion News Service, 3/13/23.
… a new study from Springtide Research Institute sheds light on the benefits of emphasizing race for America’s most diverse generation to date — Gen Z. The study, called “Navigating Injustice: A Closer Look at Race, Faith & Mental Health,” found that young Americans ages 13-25 want to talk about race and their racial identities. In fact, acknowledging one’s racial identities is critical to young Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) thriving in their mental health, faith lives and beyond.
Identifying protective factors (like open and positive conversations about race) is paramount for a generation facing a mental health crisis of epidemic proportions. According to Springtide, majorities within this generation tell us they are depressed (64% white, 61% BIPOC) or anxious (77% white, 74% BIPOC), while six in 10 young people told us, “The adults in my life don’t truly know how much I am struggling with my mental health.”
At the same time, Gen Z is finding relief through spirituality. Despite the popular narrative that Gen Z is the “least religious generation yet,” majorities of Gen Z tell us they’re flourishing in their faith lives (57% white, 65% BIPOC) and that their faith matters for their mental health (52% white, 58% BIPOC).
For young people of color, the realization of a mentally and spiritually healthy life depends in part on whether their identities are acknowledged and celebrated, rather than dismissed or downplayed, within America’s 350,000+ faith communities. “I am the person who can’t leave (race) outside of a space. Being Black shapes the way I think about things in a lot of ways and what I tend to think about. Religious or spiritual places are no exception,” May, age 20, told researchers.
Read more at … https://religionnews.com/2023/03/13/young-people-flourish-where-faith-leaders-see-color/?
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