The treatment of negro-white relations in the curriculum materials of the Methodist Church for intermediate youth, 1941-1960 [microform] /
Wingeier, Douglas E
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The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the treatment of Negro-white relations in Methodist curriculum materials for intermediate youth, published 1941-1960, to discover trends, emphases, and implications for editorial policy. This study is set in an historical, cultural, and theological context. The historical trend of Negro-white relations in American society is toward increasing justice, equality, and integration, with the Second World War and the 1954 Supreme Court decision as recent pivotal developments. Methodist history reveals a gradual evolution in the direction of full Negro quality and an interracial church, despite the continued existence of the Central Jurisdiction. These trends are confirmed by official Methodist pronouncements and representative Methodist opinion. The principles they reflect are firmly based on the implications of Methodist theology as interpreted by the Articles of Religion, Social Creed, and official statements of curriculum philosophy. In determining the extent to which the materials reflect this context, six basic questions are asked: Do the materials reflect or challenge prevailing racial attitudes, practices, and theories of society and church? Is race relations discussed primarily in general or specific terms? Are action suggestions intended for broad, universal application or focused on particular situations? Do pictures lead to identification with or rejection of the Negro? Are theological consideration peripheral or basic to the treatment of race? Are the lessons dealing with race concentrated or balanced in the various quarters of the church school year, periods of the twenty-year study, and types of materials? To answer these questions the materials are examined from five approaches. A descriptive analysis cites representative and significant references. A quantitative analysis notes in each publication the distribution of lessons dealing with race in the church school year. A summary analysis points up trends and emphases in the individual materials. A composite analysis outlines overall pattern and policy. And a comparative analysis determines differences among the three graded and five functional types of materials. Findings from these analyses produce certain conclusions. Intermediate editorial policy: 1. Is committed to racial justice, equality, and integration, and to the use of the materials to help eradicate discrimination. 2. Encourages discussion of the theories of race and prejudice in thought patterns paralleling those of society and the church. 3. Is more concerned about the race problem in society than about improving the racial situation in the church. 4. Reflects the growing attentions paid to the Methodist racial issues by the General Conference in increased emphasis on the improvement of race relations in the church. 5. Takes the General Conference position on race as its standard. 6. Offers little opportunity for influencing opinion in the church beyond the limit of official endorsement. 7. Tends to trat race in general rather than specific terms, stressing the theological principles of the fatherhood of God, brotherhood of man, and attitudes of Jesus much more heavily than criticisms of general problems. 8. When dealing with race in concrete terms, indicates relevance by majoring on issues close to the lives of intermediates and assigning action responsibility to persons most likely to be influenced by the materials. 9. Relies on the "white man's rank order of discriminations" in avoiding mention of Negro-white home visits and intermarriage. 10. Contradicts the usually relevant character of group graded materials and fellowship programs by heavy dependence on the general in preference to the specific. 11. Favors increased expression of appreciation for the Negro, but stresses passive over aggressive leaders as objects of identification. 12. Exhibits in story papers a pronounced tendency to stereotype the Negro in word and picture. 13. Stresses the role of the individual in effecting change in the racial situation, while largely ignoring the influence of organized social action, legislation, and planned policy. 14. Directs more action proposals to the South in times of crisis. 15. Exhibits in broadly graded materials a contradictory tendency in utilizing their potential influence: focusing action proposals on the South where the materials are widely used, byt placing much more emphasis on the need for change in society than in the church. 16. While favoring respect for and identification with the Negro in the use of pictures, appears hesitant to portray Negroes in integrated situations which would indirectly encourage interracial contacts, and also permits occasional portrayal of stereotypes and poorly-defines features. 17. Assigns considerable importance to the use of theological and biblical statements - particularly doctrines related to man - in support of racial attitudes. 18. Adheres closely to the standards set by the theological foundations of curriculum and the implications of Methodist theology. 19. Is responsive to the recent revival of theology in Methodism. 20. Provides for the treatment of race in an adequate share of intermediate lessons. 21. Is affected by the idealism of the postwar period and the tension and controversy precipitated by the Supreme Court decision. 22. Exhibits a readiness to deal with this controversial subject during seasons of high attendance and circulation - spring and winter. 23. Increasingly favors discussion of race during brotherhood month. 24. encourages increasing use of lessons focusing on Negro-white relations or related themes rather than incidental references in lessons mainly devoted to other topics. 25. Places the most emphasis on Negro-white relations in closely graded materials and story papers, and the least in broadly graded and fellowship programs. 26. Tends to try to influence the racial attitudes of pupils through the teacher, providing for a generally constructive and helpful approach to teaching about race in the helps, though with some shortcomings. 27. Exhibits increasing awareness of the relationship between worship and the development of wholesome racial attitude. 28. Reflects in the relative uniformity in the references to race of most of the materials the continuity of youth editorship over much of the twenty years and the sharing of writers by the periodicals. The following implications for editorial policy emerge when these conclusions are compared with the trends of history, the official Methodist position, and the implications of Methodist theology: 1. Accommodation to the cultural patterns of racial inequity should be eliminated. 2. The treatment of race should be made more specific. 3. A balance should be maintained between broad, universal action proposals and those more limited in focus. 4. More pictures should be used to encourage interracial contacts and identification with the Negro. 5. Theological and biblical considerations should be kept basic to the racial discussion. 6. The present frequency of lessons dealing with race should be continued. 7. A relatively even balance should be maintained in the distribution of the lessons dealing with race in the church school year. 8. Treatment of Negro-white relations should be more timely, incisive, and relevant. 9. The handling of the racial issue should be consistent in all types of materials. 10. More variety in approach is needed.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Boston University Abstract: leaves 753-757. Vita. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 740-752). Microfilm. s
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