Abstract: External Influences on Conversations of Race: Religion, Service Attendance, and Social (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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377P External Influences on Conversations of Race: Religion, Service Attendance, and Social

Friday, January 13, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Myra Garcia, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Whitney Howey, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of Utah, Salt Lake City
Kara Patin, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Aundrea Dilanchian, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

Many have expected that conversations about race might have changed among all in the U.S. since the public murders of Black people by police in 2020 and increased media attention. To further comprehend race relations and the factors contributing to colorblind racial ideologies, it is crucial to consider external factors contributing to racial stratification and how people are talking about race.

This study aims to examine the relationship between 1) Religious affiliation and 2) frequency of conversations held about race with people from a different race. Also, whether the relationship is moderated by: a) frequency of service attendance or b) opposition towards racism by friends and family on social media.

Additionally, the second model examined the relationship between 1) white non-Hispanics and 2) frequency of conversations about race held with people from a different race and if it is moderated by family and friends opposing racism on social media. It is hypothesized that there are significant relationships between all direct and indirect factors in each model, considering existing research and theory.


Secondary data was obtained from the American Trends Panel (ATP), conducted by the Pew Research Center (2020). The Panel collected data between September 9 and September 12, 2020, including 10,000 individuals. Self-reported data was provided by individual participants in households across the U.S. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was utilized to examine the moderating effects. A path analysis was conducted using Maximum likelihood estimation.


Path analysis showed statistically significant relationships among the main predictors of religious affiliation and white non-Hispanic with the frequency of conversations about race with others from a different race. Two out of five total moderating predictors yielded statistically significant results. The direct relationship between service attendance categories and friends and family opposing racism on social media and the outcome variable was statistically significant. Despite the lack of statistically significant results in part of the moderating path analysis, valuable inferences are to be drawn from this analysis that further contribute to understanding the nuances of race relations.

Conclusions and Implications

Talking about race is more than simply discussing the concept but understanding the underlying beliefs that lead to these ideologies. Despite religious institutions and leaders urging their communities to acknowledge and address racism, individuals are still not talking about racism with others. It can be presumed that religious affiliation alone plays a significant role in how people talk about race to others different from them despite the context or environment. Additionally, this study further reinforces existing research that shows how some white people need to build more awareness of their privilege and interracial contact to understand the actual impact of racism. Lastly, social media has allowed others to utilize their platforms to share messages for racial justice, advocacy, and allyship, but these finding suggest that it does not supersede the impact of religion and whiteness. These findings inform social workers' understanding of mechanisms of racism and socialization processes contributing to color blind ideologies and integrate into advocacy within clinical practice, policy, and future research.