Current Research

Race and Respectability: Examining Afro-Caribbean Political Incorporation in the Obama Era


The project examines group-based identity, socio-political attitudes and political behavior among Afro-Caribbeans in the United States during the Barack Obama administration. Unlike existing studies on Afro-Caribbean political incorporation which primarily focus on New York, the project compares Afro-Caribbean immigrant populations in New York City and Los Angeles County to determine the impact of a large co-ethnic population on political incorporation. The project relies on data from in-depth interviews, participant observations and data from an original survey conducted with interview participants.

Selected Previous Research

“President Barack H. Obama and the Rhetoric of Race: Between Responsibility and Respectability.” Martin, J.M. and Borelli, M. (eds.) The Gendered Executive: A Comparative Analysis of Presidents, Prime Ministers, and Chief Executives, Temple University Press: Philadelphia, 2016.

The chapter argues that President Obama’s own gender-race performance, as a biracial man who identifies as black, is intrinsic to his presidential politics. As candidate and as president, through innumerable actions and statements, Barack Obama consistently defines black masculinity in terms of personal responsibility, as performed in the family, profession, community, and society. This principle, which has profound consequences for politics and policy, is perhaps most fully expressed in the president’s 2013 Morehouse College commencement address. Setting Obama’s gender-race ideology in context-examining it as a statement of African Americans political thought and politics made by a president whose realization of his political ambitions depended on a majority white electorate-reveals some of the challenges confronting the men and women whose identities will redefine the U.S. presidency so that it is no longer exclusively white or exclusively male.

“Racism, Body Politics and Football.” with Mark Sawyer in Andrews, D. and Carrington, B. (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Sport, Blackwell: Malden, 2013.

The chapter examines the relationship between race, immigration, and citizenship as it relates to sports. The authors argue that football games are not just sporting events but have political significance because of the symbols they embody and the ways in which they challenge and affirm group identity and membership. The chapter establishes a theoretical connection between football and national identity. It discusses the issue of anti-black racism and its symbolic function. The chapter examines a series of racist incidents in Europe in order to advance the argument of the similarity of anti-black racist symbols and tropes across cultures, suggesting a global lexicon of anti-black racism.