Racialized Society

Here is a quote from the book Divided By Faith by Michael Emerson and Christian Smith.

‘The racialized society is one in which intermarriage rates are low, residential separation and socioeconomic inequality are the norm, our definitions of personal identity and our choices of intimate associations reveal racial distinctiveness, and where “we are never unaware of the race of a person with whom we interact.”

In short, and this is its unchanging essence, a racialized society is a society wherein race matters profoundly for differences in life experiences, life opportunities, and social relationships.

A racialized society can also be said to be “a society that allocates differential economic, political, social, and even psychological rewards to groups along racial lines; lines that are socially constructed.”

They go on to show throughout the book, how white evangelicals and black evangelicals although they share a common faith are actually more racially divided in all those categories defined above than the rest of society.

Why is this so? Freestyle with me…


  1. Anonymous · February 4, 2009

    I like the Blog site-
    Re: racism-(pride in exclusivity is sin)is man’s search for distinction in his state of eternal extinction( pride in exclusivity= sin)
    racism is also idolatry the “idol of control”
    Racism is also a counterfeit”trinity”
    1-acttive racism
    2-institutional racism
    3-passive racism
    But!! thank God for Acts 17:26Acts 17:26
    And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,


  2. Scattered Mind · February 4, 2009

    Peace Drew….great blog!

    The church, to my knowledge, is the most racially segregated social institution (probably only rivaled by street gangs). Now, I don’t think organizing and mobilizing around race is problematic in itself. Indeed, for Black people we need to create safe spaces not only because we were excluded from the dominant white mainstream population but often were visited with violence if we ever dared transgress those rigidly set boundaries. While these exclusion in its most ubiquitous form is no longer the order of the day, folks of color still experience tension and conflict in predominantly white spaces.

    To the extent that church and fellowship is guided by the experience and politics of the congregation, it makes sense to me that the church remains heavily segregated because we are still very much divided politically along racial lines. I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge the rise of interracial churches whose main thrust is racial reconciliation. But it seems to me that until the racial hierarchy in the US becomes significantly dismantled, we will continue to see very racial segregated churches.

    I would also be interested in knowing any information or data on INTRAracial cleavages in the Black church–particularly along class lines.

    What do you think Drew?

  3. Freestyle Theologian · February 5, 2009

    Yo I think you touched on some important points. I put more responsibility on the dominant culture as it relates to creating an atmosphere for reconciliation. As you said, as long as the inequalities continue to exist, there will be a legitimate reason for subcultures and groups to find shelter and safe spaces from sometimes hostile environments.

    However, more and more there are growing similarities politically among different races (black and white conservatives/black and white liberals, etc) but they are still unlikely to share a congregation together. As for the racial reconciliation piece, I actually was at one for about 3 to 4 years. They have strengths and weaknesses, but they are attempting to deal with the segregation and racism.

    There are definitely intraracial issues as well for the black church. I don’t have statistics. However, coming out of the assemblies (carribean brethren churches that church planted in the U.S.) I know first hand that their is a separation. I think many of the assemblies tend to be more middle class churches, and tend not to emphasize and talk about racism and injustice (unless critiquing inwardly at black folk). As they progress, the mood and tone is changing, but that is the traditional approach it seems for many of the churhes. Michael Eric Dyson, in general talks a lot about middle class and lower class strife, however I don’t think ive read anything specifically on the black church. I’m gonna check over my resources though. Good discussion fam!

  4. Anonymous · February 6, 2009

    Why is this so?

    Hmmm, so many things comes to mind that I don’t know where to start.

    I know Christ didn’t design His bride to look like the typical segregated church in America.

    The American church let society help them to dictate who would sit next to them at church, at home, at the job, at the mall, on the stoop, on the playground, and on the court. We even let society help us choose the books we read, the TV we watch and the types of food we enjoy.

    American Christians have built a church around injustice and racism and used (or uses) scripture to justify it. For many societal, social, personal reasons, we tend to leave Christ love for all and His death on the cross in our personal times with God. We don’t bring what we learned during our times with God back into the church, or our personal lives, or society. We keep all that we learn about the love of Christ in the bookmark of our Bibles.

    The religious freedom of the dominant culture only helps the racially segregated church grow into what we see today.

    So can the American church break through the sins of our society? Just look to the cross! When the world thought Christ was defeated, He rose from the dead to save us! He defeated the oppressive empire and death!

    In Christ,


  5. Freestyle Theologian · February 6, 2009

    I really like how you talked about the disconnect between peoples personal devotions and their public lives. I think that’s a dope connection that you pointed out. How else can we interact with such a loving God and not connect the dots of love even within the Family of God. I am a firm believer that looking to the cross has everyday practical life value, and will rearrange our thinking. If ya haven’t check out my Christ Victorious post, gets into some of that, of which you are talking about now. Peace.

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