Why don't we practice what we preach? A meta-analytic review of religious racism

Deborah L. Hall, David C. Matz, Wendy Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

289 Scopus citations


A meta-analytic review of past research evaluated the link between religiosity and racism in the United States since the Civil Rights Act. Religious racism partly reflects intergroup dynamics. That is, a strong religious in-group identity was associated with derogation of racial out-groups. Other races might be treated as out-groups because religion is practiced largely within race, because training in a religious in-group identity promotes general ethnocentrism, and because different others appear to be in competition for resources. In addition, religious racism is tied to basic life values of social conformity and respect for tradition. In support, individuals who were religious for reasons of conformity and tradition expressed racism that declined in recent years with the decreased societal acceptance of overt racial discrimination. The authors failed to find that racial tolerance arises from humanitarian values, consistent with the idea that religious humanitarianism is largely expressed to in-group members. Only religious agnostics were racially tolerant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-139
Number of pages14
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Motives
  • Prejudice
  • Racial tolerance
  • Racism
  • Religion
  • Values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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