I am interested in understanding how socialization influences identity, particularly related to race and gender, and how identity is then enacted via attitudes, thoughts, and beliefs that impact health and educational outcomes. I am also interested in understanding how to create spaces such as classrooms and workplaces that have the psychological and identity safety for having difficult dialogues related to identity and oppression such as racism and sexism. I have received numerous awards for my research including a Visiting Scholars Fellowship at the Russell Sage Foundation, Carolyn Payton Early Career Psychology Award, APA, Division 35, Psychology of Black Women, and NIMH-fellowship at Hunter College Center for Community Urban Health in HIV Research for the Community.
Some of my recent work:
- My current work on social identity includes an HIV prevention study funded by NIMH that looks at the role of socialization and social identity, specifically racial identity and gender roles, on dating and sexual behaviors in a diverse group of college women.
- In a recent manuscript, I look at the influence of social identity, race and gender, on black adolescent male’s global and academic self-concept. This work builds on my prior work in the area of identity development and psychological functioning in black adolescent girls and biracial women.
- In my recently (2014) co-authored book, “The Color Bind: Talking (and not) talking about race at work” published by the Russell Sage Foundation Press we argue for the importance of “color cognizance,” which stands in opposition to color blindness, the dominant approach in the US since the 1960’s. But color cognizance requires the capacity to talk about race, which is taboo in most work contexts. The book suggests how we can transcend the color bind by creating work groups that can discuss racial and cultural issues that advance the work and create trusting relationships.
- My co-author and I recently submitted a grant proposal to extend our empirically-derived model into different contexts: teaching, research, and workplace. In an effort to reclaim the centrality of racial dynamics even in contexts that seem to be racially neutral, we argue that racial and cultural dynamics are omnipresent in individuals communities, organizations, and society at large. The aim is to refine our model for engaging race by first, digging more deeply into existing work on cultural competence and cultural humility across disciplines, and second, exploring actual examples from actual cases of largely generative racial and cultural contact in a variety of contexts.