School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Richard L. Green


African Americans, Blacks, Black men, pastors, male pastors, racism, influence, behavior


Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The purpose of this psychological phenomenological study was to give African American pastors a platform to express their perceptions of racism as Black men and spiritual leaders. The appropriate relationships can endure unforeseen trauma with Erickson's (2013) recognition of the dependability and reliability of the scriptures, as well as Bowlby's (1969/1982) concept of pastors' attachments fostering trust. The research questions were as follows: How would African American pastors describe the challenges they face when addressing the issue of racism with their congregations? What strategies would African American pastors encourage to congregates when addressing racism? How would African American pastors describe the context of the sermon on racism differently from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sermons in the 1960s? What would African American pastors say their role is in the Black community as a spiritual leaders concerning racism? Who would African American pastors say provide comfort when disturbed about racial issues, not excluding an image of a spiritual figure? In what ways would African American pastors say that racism has affected their behavior? The Brief COPE Assessment tool was used as a pre-evaluation method for African American participants to identify coping strategies when addressing traumatic issues, such as racism. The data collection method included semi-structured interviews, cognitive representation and was validated through participant checks. Utilizing Moustakas’ (1994) modified Van Kemp method, data analysis consisted of a series of operations: horizonalization, reduction, elimination, clustering, theme development, validation, and description to report the essence of participants’ experiences. Data analysis identified the following five major themes and their recurring themes regarding the Black male pastor’s perception of racism: 1) Growth of the Black Church, a) Church Growth in comparison to the 1960s; 2) Role of Black Pastors; 3) Influences, a) Influence as a Spiritual Leader, b) Influence within the Black Community, c) Influence on Racism Strategies and d) Influences Received by Others; 4) Biblical Perspective of the African American Pastors, a) COVID-19 Pandemic, and b) January 6th Insurrection, and 5) Biblical Character of the African American Pastors, a) 2020/2021 Killings of Black men, b) Killings of Black Men Affect Black Men in the Family, c) Racism Affecting Behavior as a Black Man, and d) Killing of Black Men Like George Floyd and Andre Hill.

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