Monday, March 28, 2016

Understanding Associations between Religious Beliefs and White Privilege Attitudes

Scholars have grappled with how religion in the United States shapes attitudes toward racial inequality, often by focusing on racial inequality as out-group disadvantage. 

The current study extends this research by moving beyond racial inequality as out-group disadvantage to examine how religious conservatism and sanctification of social justice (i.e., attributing spiritual or religious significance to working for social justice) are associated with attitudes toward racial in-group advantage: white privilege. 

Using canonical correlation analysis with 475 white Catholic and Protestant students, results showed religious beliefs and white privilege attitudes were connected in two ways: 
  1. sanctification of social justice was positively associated with a dimension defined by greater willingness to confront white privilege and greater white privilege remorse and awareness and 
  2. religious conservatism was negatively associated with a dimension defined by greater awareness of white privilege. 
This shows how religion may facilitate or inhibit awareness and action related to white privilege.

Full PDF article at:  Abstract:

1University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign, Champaign, IL, USA
2DePaul University, Chicago, IL, USA
Nathan R. Todd, Department of Psychology, University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign, 603 East Daniel Street, Champaign, IL 61820, USA. Email:

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