Black Panther and “Growing Up African” in Chicago

I grew up in Chicago in the 1980s and 90s in the days of Christie Brinkley as the American beauty ideal. The Jherri curl was the hairstyle of choice for many African Americans. In those days, people from other cultures spoke their native languages within their communities and family spaces. If surrounded by Americans, it … Continue reading Black Panther and “Growing Up African” in Chicago

Rachel Dolezal: ‘Negra Frustrada’ (Frustrated Black Woman)

Race is a social construction. We have heard that phrase over and over again to the point that it has become a bit hackneyed. When I teach my sociology students, I tell them, “Sociologists study what people do together: we create families, schools, economic systems.” All of these things are social constructions that are produced, … Continue reading Rachel Dolezal: ‘Negra Frustrada’ (Frustrated Black Woman)

African Immigrants and the New Black Middle Class

  Too often in our society, when the media links class and African Americans, they have their eyes on issues of poverty. Decades ago, William Julius Wilson described how class was increasingly bifurcating blacks into those with and those without. Over the last several decades, he has called for more policy consideration for those in entrenched … Continue reading African Immigrants and the New Black Middle Class

Paris During the Attacks

I went to a conference on “Mixedness” at the Sorbonne in Paris. On the last day of the conference, some of the conference participants and I decided to grab drinks to celebrate. We were a multinational crowd, although I was the only American. There were two Dutch people, an Italian, a Belgian, a French person, and … Continue reading Paris During the Attacks