“Man, This Is Hard”: A Case Study of How Race and Religion Affect Cross-Racial Interaction for Black Students


This study examines how multiple facets of students’ identities affect their experiences with cross-racial interaction. I consider how the intersection between two identity categories—race and religion—affected six Black students’ experiences with cross-racial interaction in a multiracial religious student organization. While the pursuit of common goals (Allport, 1954) facilitated cross-racial interaction and interracial friendship, sharing a common religious background did not subsume tensions and conflict related to race. This study makes an important contribution to the qualitative study of diversity by illuminating how the unequal status of students can hamper efforts to use common goals to bridge racial divides.