Abstract

Historically, the Black church has been seen as the leader in the movement for racial progress and civil rights in the United States. On the other hand, White churches have largely been seen as perpetuators of racial oppression undergirded by a theology which supports liberation of the soul and subjugation of the body. What then is the role of multi-racial churches? These churches have the unique ability to bridge the difference between Black and White churches and help bring about progress for non-Whites. However, questions have been raised by past research, which implies that multi-racial churches may in fact reproduce the status quo. Accordingly, this dissertation seeks to understand if and how such churches 1) produce and reproduce racial ideology and 2) how organizational practices contribute to the problem. To answer my research questions, I conducted a study which included participant observation, content analysis, and an interview sample of 21. The data was collected at Without Walls Church (WWC), a multi-racial and multi-site church located in south Florida. My findings indicate that church leaders, staff, and volunteers of all races utilize all the frames and many of the styles of color-blind ideology, thereby reproducing the dominant racial ideology. Furthermore, WWC developed additional socio-theological colorblind frames that minimize social justice as a counter frame. Finally, although WWC celebrates its diversity, research found that WWC is a racialized organization which restricts agency of Blacks and distributes resources in ways that suit the interests of Whites through organizational practices. However, the murder of George Floyd, Jr. may have served as an external source of change, challenging the ways in which WWC reproduces the dominant racial ideology.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2022

Semester

Spring

Advisor

Carter, J. Scott

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

College

College of Sciences

Department

Sociology

Degree Program

Sociology

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0008947; DP0026280

URL

https://purls.library.ucf.edu/go/DP0026280

Language

English

Release Date

May 2025

Length of Campus-only Access

3 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)

Restricted to the UCF community until May 2025; it will then be open access.

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