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Presbyterians see more racial discrimination than 4 years ago


Go Figure: Presbyterian attitudes on race — more emphasis on racial justice and worship diversity

By Perry Chang | Presbyterians Today

Infographic by Jeffrey Lawrence

The neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, have helped renew attention on issues of race and ethnicity. Have Presbyterians’ attitudes and involvement in these issues changed with the times?

A comparison of results from August 2013 and February 2017 Presbyterian Panel surveys suggests that Presbyterians have changed.

Today, Presbyterians are more involved in racial justice work and more likely to believe there is discrimination against people of color than in 2013.

More Presbyterians today are open to worshiping in a congregation in which people of a racial or ethnic background different from theirs predominate. And more are already part of a congregation trying to diversify its membership.

Because different Presbyterian leaders responded to the two surveys, it is difficult to know definitively whether Presbyterians have become more supportive of racial justice, or whether the composition of Presbyterians has changed. The findings likely reflect a bit of both.

There was no change in the percentages of panelists who are white and people of color. About 9 in 10 Presbyterians are white.

For more information, see the PC(USA) “Facing Racism” website:

Perry Chang is a research associate with Research Services for the Presbyterian Mission Agency.


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