My research examines the various ways Black Americans perceive and respond to racial inequality. I’m particularly interested in how Black resistance to racial inequality varies across social and institutional spaces. Specifically, I explore Black resistive practices within Religion, Higher Education, and Pop-Culture & Sport to theorize contemporary strategies for navigating racial and gendered hierarchies.
My dissertation research project is titled, “Unapologetically Black and Unashamedly Christian: Exploring the Complexities of Black Millennial Christianity.” This study draws on qualitative and quantitative data to explore the various ways Black Christian Millennials reconcile the tensions between their racial and religious identities.
For much of the twentieth century, the social, political, and religious lives of Black people were intertwined because the Black Christian church, the oldest Black social institution, served as the epicenter of the Black community. Black social life today, though, differs from the past. Church attendance rates are decreasing and the amount of secular spaces facilitating the development of a Black oppositional consciousness, such as colleges/universities, and virtual communities like Black Twitter, have increased.
It is an opportune time, then, to revisit the role Black Christian faith is playing in the socio-political lives of Black people. Specifically, my dissertation assesses how the Black Christian tradition is impacting collective identity formation, oppositional consciousness development, and political mobilization for Black Christian Millennials amid the current Black Lives Matter movement. I was recently interviewed by the University of Cincinnati about my dissertation research and the published article can be accessed here.
Community-Based Research Projects
I’ve also contributed to a few community-based research projects focused on residents’ perceptions of inequality. Through The Cincinnati Project, I was paired with a local community organization, The Black United Front, to help conduct a comprehensive study which surveyed thousands of Cincinnati residents about their perceptions of community-police relations.
I was also selected as one of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund Research Fellows to create and implement a study that examines how residents of historically Black neighborhoods perceive urban change and risk of displacement. A full-length report of my findings on Louisville, KY, along with the other Research Fellows’ case-studies, is published here.
I am also a member of the Racial Justice Unity Center collaboration team, a collective of pastors, community leaders, and researchers working together to combat racial inequality. I believe that if we, as scholars, are sincere in our desire to establish equitable conditions on our campuses and in society, we must actively work to bridge the divide between “academia” and the “public” when it comes to our research and other scholarly contributions.