Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Hardman, Alisha M.

Committee Member

Phillips, Tommy

Committee Member

Jagger, Carla B.

Committee Member

Seal, Susan D.

Committee Member

Denny, Marina D.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Human Development and Family Science

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


School of Human Sciences


Extensive literature has documented The United Methodist Church’s’ (UMC) commitment to social justice. A current focus in the church is working with economically marginalized populations, including the 231,170 Black children and youth in Mississippi. To better understand adults that serve this population, I conducted an exploratory study to gather baseline data about UMC adults’ contemporary attitudes and beliefs about race, racism, and discrimination. A cross-sectional survey was administered at the 2017 Mississippi Annual Conference of The UMC. Using a critical race lens, I found that most of the attendees espoused moderate color-blind racial attitudes and beliefs about the frequency that low-income, Black youth experience racial discrimination. I suggest that espousal of these attitudes and beliefs may promote notions of white privilege or internalized oppression and may lead to increased acts of racial prejudice and discrimination when these adults interact with low-income, Black youth.