by David Briggs, ARDA, 7/20/20.
… New findings from the Religious Leadership and Diversity Project suggest white pastors of multiracial churches receive disproportionate resources, have greater authority and are valued more by their congregations than clergy of color.
In their own words, many black and Asian pastors in multiracial churches say they are denied a seat at the table in predominantly white denominations, while they are also alienated from their spiritual homes in Asian American and African American churches.
“The stories of the African American pastors and Asian American pastors are ones of people standing on the doorsteps of assimilation only to be ultimately denied entrance through the door of whiteness and access to the privileges enjoyed by the white majority,” reported researchers Korie Edwards of Ohio State University and Rebecca Kim of Pepperdine University.
… A good deal of ethnographic research has indicated people of color pay “the lion’s share” of the personal costs associated with attending multiracial churches, Edwards and Kim noted.
These costs include feeling isolated, not having their religious and cultural preferences met and having only symbolic influence in their congregations.
The recent research involved 121 in-depth, face-to-face interviews with head clergy of multiracial churches as part of the religious diversity project, a nationwide study led by Edwards of leadership in multiracial religious organizations in the United States.
Three articles analyzing study data were recently published in the journal Sociology of Religion.
What the research revealed is that even in multiracial churches, “Neither African American nor Asian American pastors—regardless of their particular ethnicity, race, culture, or histories—are gaining entrée into the white majority. They are both hitting the same white wall,” Edwards and Kim wrote.