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Religion and the Paradox of Racial Inequality Attitudes

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There appears to be an interesting paradox in American attitudes toward racial inequality: while Americans almost universally see inequality as a social evil, they also consistently oppose government programs to remedy it. This discrepancy appears to result from accounts for the causes of inequality: if inequality is caused by individual failures, rather than structural conditions, then government solutions to racial inequality are unlikely. We examine the role of religion in the formation of attitudes concerning racial inequality for both blacks and whites. Using logistic regression on data from the 1996 General Social Survey, we find that the inclusion of African Americans and multiple religious traditions further complicates the story behind contemporary debates over attitudes pertaining to racial inequality.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Baylor University, Waco, TX

Publication date: June 1, 2004


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