The Elusive Dream
The Power of Race in Interracial Churches
By Korie L. Edwards
(Oxford University Press, USA, Hardcover, 9780195314243, 227pp.)
Publication Date: August 2008
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In The Elusive Dream, Korie L. Edwards presents the surprising results of an in-depth study of interracial churches: they help perpetuate the very racial inequality they aim to abolish. To arrive at this conclusion, she combines a nuanced analysis of national survey data with an in-depth examination of one particular church. She shows that mixed-race churches adhere strongly to white norms. African Americans in multiracial settings adapt their behavior to make white congregants comfortable. Behavior that white worshipers perceive as out of bounds is felt by blacks as too limiting. Yet to make interracial churches work, blacks must adjust their behavior to accommodate the predilections of whites. They conform to white expectations in church just as they do elsewhere.
Thorough, incisive, and surprising, The Elusive Dream raises provocative questions about the ongoing problem of race in the national culture.