If we are holistic beings then all parts of who we are must interact together as we strive to understand our world. I am not just a sociologist. I am not just a Christian. I am not just black. I am all of those things. This is not to say that all of those things are equal in their importance to me but all of them, and other identities I have, matter in how I approach my life and understand my world.
You might guess that as an African-American that I would have special concern about the racial issues in the United States. You would be right in that assumption. In fact, for most of my academic career I have published in the area of race and ethnicity. I have done work on topics such as interracial romance, racial identity, residential segregation and racial diversity in religious settings. Like most people of color, I have had to think about racial issue seriously from an early age and so when I gained the methodological tools to understand those issues more deeply I used them to the best of my ability.
With such an effort at understanding the social scientific literature on racial issues you would think that I would have found a lot of fantastic answers to the question of how we overcome the perilous effects of our racialized society. However, I have been dissatisfied with the answers I found in my reading of the current literature. As I have established in previous blogs my sociological training is great for helping me to see what is happening in society, but less useful for helping me to understand the nature of humans. The idea that we are perfectible and that education will eliminate racism is not sufficient. [Read more…]