Racial and Religious Reconciliation: A Grounded Theory Study on African American Latter-day Saints
Race relations between Black and White Americans continue to be tense. For African Americans, this is rooted in mistreatment by White Americans that has led to negative health outcomes. For many African Americans, religion has been one way to cope with this mistreatment and find hope in their circumstances. While many African Americans worship in Black Churches, some choose to worship in predominantly White churches. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of research on the experience of African Americans who worship in predominantly White spaces. Research using a cohesive theory that provides more context for their processes as they reconcile their racial and religious identities is needed. The current study sought to address this gap in literature by focusing on the experiences of African American Latter-day Saints using a theoretical framework combining acculturation theory and the biopsychosocial-spiritual (BPSS) framework. The history of African American Latter-day Saints using these theoretical frameworks were provided. Constructivist grounded theory was used to gather more information on the processes of African American Latter-day Saints and then construct the themes into a coherent theory that may help others understand their experiences in more detail. Through the data collection and analysis processes, five main themes emerged: (1) racial socialization, (2) trust, (3) cultural location, (4) coping, and (5) BPSS health. The first theme, racial socialization, was the central theme that informed the rest of the themes, and all of the themes had a reciprocal relationship with each other. The results lead to several recommendations for researchers, clinicians, and the LDS community. Researchers should look more deeply at the variation in acculturation strategies, explore how different strategies can lead to both positive and negative BPSS health, and expand the acculturation model to account for more than one cultural identity at a time. Clinicians must practice cultural humility, address the intersection of race and faith, explore cultural locations, and promote protective and nourishing coping mechanisms with clients. The LDS community should focus efforts on the local and general geographical levels to decrease the distance some African Americans Latter-day Saints feel in their church spaces.
Jones, Eunicia. (May 2019). Racial and Religious Reconciliation: A Grounded Theory Study on African American Latter-day Saints (Doctoral Dissertation, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/7232.)
Jones, Eunicia. Racial and Religious Reconciliation: A Grounded Theory Study on African American Latter-day Saints. Doctoral Dissertation. East Carolina University, May 2019. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/7232. April 18, 2021.
Jones, Eunicia, “Racial and Religious Reconciliation: A Grounded Theory Study on African American Latter-day Saints” (Doctoral Dissertation., East Carolina University, May 2019).
Jones, Eunicia. Racial and Religious Reconciliation: A Grounded Theory Study on African American Latter-day Saints [Doctoral Dissertation]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; May 2019.
East Carolina University