Spirit Possession And Racial Discrimination

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Spirit Possession And Racial Discrimination

  1. 1. SPIRIT POSSESSION AND RACIAL DISCRIMINATION as seen in Umbanda and the UCKG
  2. 2. Core Research Question: <ul><li>What is the relationship between a religion’s attitude toward spirit possession and its followers’ racial prejudices? </li></ul><ul><li>Hypothesis– Dualistic religions like the UCKG, which very explicitly admonishes evil spirits through its regular practice of exorcism, influence its followers to adopt a dualistic perspective of everything, including race, whereas more holistic religions, like Umbanda, which give attention to all different types of spirits, including exus like Pomba Gira, cultivate a spirit of tolerance and acceptance of others in its followers. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Main Sub-Questions: <ul><li>What are the similarities and the differences between the way exus and demons are portrayed in Umbanda and the UCKG, respectively? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there a significant difference in attitudes toward racial prejudices between Umbandistas and UCKG followers? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Related Works: <ul><li>Mind over Matter: the Anthropology and Psychology of Spirit Possession (Morton Klass, USA: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2003) </li></ul><ul><li>“ The Everyday Wounds of Color” (John Burdick, from Blessed Anastacia: Women, Race, and Popular Christianity in Brazil , NY: Routledge, 1998) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Future in the Mirror: Media, Evangelicals, and Politics in Rio de Janeiro” (Patricia Birman, from Brigit Meyer and Annelies Moors, eds., Religion, Media, and the Public Sphere, USA: Bloomington, 2006) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Research Design
  6. 6. Places: <ul><li>Universal Church of the Kingdom of God </li></ul><ul><li>Umbanda Terreiros </li></ul>
  7. 7. Populations: <ul><li>20 children (ages 8-18) </li></ul><ul><li>20 young adults who were raised in the UCKG (ages 19-30) </li></ul><ul><li>20 children (ages 8-18) </li></ul><ul><li>20 young adults who were raised in Umbanda (ages 19-30) </li></ul><ul><li>Followers of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God </li></ul><ul><li>Umbandistas </li></ul>Each sample of 20 people will aim to include 5 blacks, 5 whites, 5 mulattos, and 5 morenos.
  8. 8. Data-Gathering Methods: <ul><li>Participant Observation </li></ul><ul><li>Interviews (open-ended) </li></ul><ul><li>Sample questions for the children: How do you picture the spirits that possess members of your religion? Are your friends mostly the same race as you? </li></ul><ul><li>Sample questions for the young adults: In what ways have the spirits of your religion influenced your daily life? Could you tell me about an experience where you may have held a color prejudice toward someone? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Timetable: <ul><li>2 months of getting acclimated to the area, the language, and doing participant observation in the UCKG </li></ul><ul><li>3 months of interviews in the UCKG </li></ul><ul><li>1 month of participant observation in the 3 Umbanda terreiros </li></ul><ul><li>2 months of interviews in first Umbanda terreiro </li></ul><ul><li>2 months of interviews in second Umbanda terreiro </li></ul><ul><li>2 months of interviews in third Umbanda terreiro </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>My findings will be significant to everyone concerned about color prejudices in Brazil. Obviously, the answer to my question would not explain all the factors that go into racial discrimination, but it will make clear one motivation—the influence of a religion’s attitude toward spirit possession. I know in the grand scheme of things, my question seems very trivial, but my findings will help enrich our understanding of the psychology behind racial prejudices and could potentially lead to more comprehensive solutions to alleviate the amount of racial discrimination people experience every day. </li></ul>Significance

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