Research

Publications

My published academic work focuses on race, inequality, religion and diverse social networks.

Status Characteristics, Implicit Bias, and the Production of Racial Inequality
American Sociological Review (accepted)

with David Melamed, Leanne Barry, Bradley Montgomery, & Oneya Okuwobi

Racial stratification is well documented in many spheres of social life. Much stratification research assumes that implicit or explicit bias on the part of institutional gatekeepers produces disparate racial outcomes. Research on status-based expectations provides a good starting point for theoretically understanding racial inequalities. In this context it is understood that race results in differential expectations for performance, producing disparate outcomes. But even here, the mechanism, i.e., status-based expectations, is often assumed, because of the lack of tools to measure status-based expectations. In this paper, we put forth a new way to measure implicit racial status beliefs, and theorize how they are related to consensual beliefs about what “most people think.” This enables us to assess the mechanisms in the relationship between race and disparate outcomes. We conducted two studies to assess our arguments. Study 1 demonstrates the measurement properties of the implicit status measure. Study 2 shows how implicit status beliefs and perceptions of what “most people” think combine to shape social influence.  We conclude with the implications of this work for social psychological research, and racial stratification more generally.
 

A Seat at the Table: How Race Shapes Access to Social Capital

Sociology of Religion
: A Quarterly Review 2018

Leaders of multiracial churches serve an important role between religious institutions and their members. As a bridge between social networks, they develop connections that ease the flow of resources across a diverse array of groups. Therefore, it is imperative to understand if racial differences exist in
how leaders access the social and material resources embedded in racially homogenous organizations peer networks, and institutions. An in-depth analysis of 121 head clergy interviews from the Religious Leadership and Diversity Project (RLDP) reveals that access to social capital is constrained when white leaders hoard resources and assign symbolic value to positions held by leaders of color. Findings of this study suggest the need for further investigation of racial inequality reproduction via the mechanism of differences in social capital.
The One Friend Rule | Social Problems 2017

Scholars have argued convincingly that race influences an individual’s ability to access
and mobilize social capital. Since social capital is embedded in social relationships and not
individuals, understanding the context of relationships is imperative for understanding how
race may create barriers to socioeconomic equality. Using data from in-depth interviews
with members of an intentionally interracial organization in a large Midwestern city, I investigate
the influence of race on social capital. One major theme emerged: highly involved
white members described their close friends of color in utilitarian terms and not integrated
into daily activities outside of the interracial organization. This theme, named the “one
friend rule,” is a micro-level mechanism where whites mobilize a “close” interracial tie to
project a generalized value for diversity while simultaneously limiting access to personal resources.
I conclude that the one friend rule is a major barrier to social capital mobilization
for people of color involved in a racially diverse organization.
Uncertainty and Social Influence
Socius: Social Research for a Dynamic World 2019


Much research documents that uncertainty is an important factor in the social influence process. We argue that there are two senses in which uncertainty plays a role. First, task uncertainty is a necessary but variable condition for social influence to occur. Second, uncertainty reduction is a mechanism producing social influence. We discuss how tasks can vary in the level of uncertainty they entail and how this impacts the mechanisms resulting in social influence. In this context, we predict that task uncertainty moderates social influence and that uncertainty reduction mediates it. We experimentally test our predictions in the status-to-social-influence process using standard means of studying social influence. Inconsistent with prior work, we do not find that task uncertainty is a moderator, but we do find evidence that uncertainty reduction functions as a mediator. Further, we find that the mediated effect is contingent on task uncertainty.Uncertainty and Social Influence
Socius: Social Research for a Dynamic World






Let’s build something together.


%d bloggers like this: