Check out these insights from "What Multicultural Congregations Teach About Improving Race Relations," a resource from Baylor University’s online master’s in social work program. Here's an excerpt—
A movement is growing among Christian churches to become places of racial reconciliation and friendship between people of different racial and ethnic identities. But beyond awkwardness, racism and prejudice continue to make relationship-building across lines of race and ethnicity challenging at best and painful at worst. In fact, Clay Polson and Kevin Dougherty, social scientists at Baylor University, found that simply increasing contact may not be enough to break down these barriers.
By encouraging true intimacy between members, multicultural churches are becoming part of the solution. When led with intention and care, they can offer wisdom for any organization seeking to foster true relationships across lines of difference, while still acknowledging that the learning process is continual. What can leaders learn from multicultural churches about cultivating a sense of true friendship between people of different races and ethnicities?
Polson and Dougherty based their research on contact theory, the idea that race relations will improve and people of different racial or ethnic identities will begin to view each other as equals if they spend more time together.
Through the lens of contact theory, the research findings are summarized in the resource, What Multicultural Congregations Teach About Improving Race Relations, as to what a congregation can do intentionally to encourage stronger relationships and to structure for diverse perspectives, and to communicate diversity as a primary value. Read the full article there.