My research explores the intersections of race, gender and class within the family, workplace, educational institutions, and political movements. I am particularly interested in how these intersections complicate long-standing debates regarding the relative influence of economic and cultural resources on the experiences and life trajectories of members of the expanding African American middle and upper-middle-class. My research also examines how middle-class African Americans respond to, and counter, perceptions and controlling images as they navigate interactions with law enforcement and in educational settings, the workplace and the broader society.
Through three research projects I examine how these intersections shape: 1) the cultural expectations of motherhood and mothers' approaches to parenting, 2) the reproduction of racial inequality within the workplace, and 3) the experiences of millennial men of color who are navigating predominately white college campuses.
I have also sought out opportunities to do research for institutions where the findings can be readily used to ameliorate racial and/or gender inequality or increase the representation of underrepresented minorities and women. While attending the Columbia University School of Law, I researched the high attrition rates of female police officers from a mid sized east coast city's police department. I found that although the department successfully recruited female officers it failed to, and resisted, making policy and organizational changes to retain those officers. As a result, the majority of women who left the force remained in law enforcement but now worked for organizations with formal maternity leave policies and a willingness to depart from rigid seniority-based scheduling rules. I also worked for The Level Playing Field Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Oakland, California where I helped to develop and implement research examining why people of color voluntarily leave corporate employment settings.
MOTHERING WHILE BLACK ONLINE
This research examines depictions of mothers and parenting on African American “mommy blogs.” Although existing research has underscored that racial minorities have less access to the internet, other scholars have noted that African American are more like to blog than their white counterparts.
Through an analyzing the content of parenting blogs produced by African American moms I analyze their motivations for blogging, the content of their sites, and the communities they seek to create or engage with through their blogging.
DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE
This research incorporates scholarship from the fields of the sociology of emotions, critical race theory and the sociology of law to examine workplace diversity, cross-racial employee interactions, and the subtle and hidden rules of advancement that define social interactions in the workplace, and their effects on career development and advancement.
MILLENIAL MEN OF COLOR
This research examines the experiences of millennial men of color, specifically African American, and Latino men, as they navigate predominately white college and university campuses.
African American boys and men encounter discrimination and detrimental stereotyping in school settings from other students, faculty, and administrators. These subtle and explicit forms of discrimination affect their sense of belonging during college, their emotional and mental health, and their academic trajectory. With several notable exceptions (S. R. Harper, 2013; Jackson, 2012), there has been very little focus on how African American college men navigate predominately white educational settings, the challenges they confront and the strategies they use to overcome those challenges. Using in-depth interviews my Millenial Men of Color project seeks to understand and draw lessons from these mens' experiences.