Alumnus returns to Kent State to discuss race and religion

Jason E. Shelton gives a speech about the differences in religious practices and beliefs between black Protestants and white Protestants in Oscar Richie Hall on Wednesday. Jason Shelton is the son of Kent State professor Eugene Shelton. Photo by Rachael Le Goubin.

Jason E. Shelton gives a speech about the differences in religious practices and beliefs between black Protestants and white Protestants in Oscar Richie Hall on Wednesday. Jason Shelton is the son of Kent State professor Eugene Shelton. Photo by Rachael Le Goubin.

Kelsey Leyva

Dr. Jason E. Shelton discussed his book “Blacks and Whites in Christian America: How Racial Discrimination Shapes Religious Convictions” and broke down the question “Why do African Americans pray so often?” Wednesday in front of Kent State students and faculty.

During the presentation, Shelton went over the statistical information that answers his question. He explained his methods of research were surveys and interviews. The surveys include 2006 Portrait of American Life Study and General Social Surveys.

Shelton also made his intentions in writing the book as a sociologist clear to the audience.

“We, as sociologists, are interested in why different groups of people see the world the way that they do,” he said.

Dr. George Garrison, professor in the department of Pan-African Studies, played an active role in inviting Shelton to Kent State.

Garrison said Shelton was a great example of a success story to show to the students.

“A couple of things that I was interested in, and he did a fantastic job of doing, is to convey to the students how ordinary people, when they are focused and when they are dedicated, can optimize their potential and achieve their goals,” Garrison said. “One of the greatest affirmations as a teacher is to see the success of their students.”

Sydney Cohen, freshman fashion merchandising major, said she was glad to attend the presentation.

“It was interesting,” Cohen said. “Hearing about other people’s views and the studies and stuff is interesting to me.”

Eugene Shelton, associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Jason’s father, felt privileged to introduce his son to the audience.

“He is my first born. He is my friend. He is my fraternity brother. He is a hero, and I am honored tonight,” Shelton said.

Contact Kelsey Leyva at [email protected].