Your Social Science Hub for Race and Racism

Reports on Research, Theories, and Current Events

Sociologists have studied race and racism since the late nineteenth century. They have produced countless research studies on these topics, and theories for analyzing them. In this hub you'll find reviews of contemporary and historical theories, concepts, and research findings, as well as sociologically informed discussions of current events.

Race: A Sociological Definition

Thomas Northcut/Getty Images

The meaning of race, from the sociological standpoint, is ever-evolving, always contested, and politically charged. Learn more about how sociologists define race in this article.

Racism: A Sociological Definition

Chief Zee with fans at FedEx Field. Washington R******* vs. New York Jets on December, 4, 2011. Katidid213

Racism today takes many forms, some of which are overt, but most which are covert, and do not appear, at first glance, to be racist.

Systemic Racism: A Sociological Theory by Joe Feagin

walk abouts

Systemic racism is a theory developed by sociologist Joe Feagin that illuminates the racist foundations of the U.S., illustrates how racism manifests in all aspects of society, and connects to history to the many forms present day racism takes.

Understanding Segregation Today

Houses separated to illustrate segregation, something that very much still exists in society.
Cultura RM/Ian Nolan

Though legal segregation is a thing of the past, practical segregation persists in the U.S., and in some forms is even more pronounced today than in the past.

What's the Difference Between Prejudice and Racism?

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Prejudice and racism are not the same, and sociologists believe there are very important and consequential differences between them.

What is White Supremacy?

A white couple is served by black staff at a colonial themed wedding in South Africa in 2010.

Far from a thing of the past or the strict purview of Neo-Nazi and white power groups, white supremacy is part of the very fabric of U.S. society. 

What's the Deal with White Privilege?


White privilege confers a host of advantages on white people in U.S. society and in many countries around the world. Read on to learn how sociologists conceptualize these advantages, and their implications.

Intersectionality: A Sociological Definition


When talking about privilege or oppression, we must take account of the intersecting nature of class, race, gender, sexuality, and nationality. Find out why sociologists believe this to be true, and how it informs social science research.

Can Sociology Help Me Counter Claims of "Reverse Racism"?


Claims of "reverse racism" are popular today, but does it really exist? A sociologist says "No!" Here's how you can use sociology to counter this claim.

The Ferguson Syllabus

Protestors in Ferguson, MO Protestors raise their hands and chant 'Hands up, don't shoot' as a rally cry to draw attention to reports that stated Michael Brown's hands were raised when he was shot. Scott Olson/Getty Images

A group called Sociologists for Justice presents a collection of research studies on racism and policing. They provide important socio-historical context for the shooting death of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson, and the uprising that followed in Ferguson, MO, during August, 2014.

Sociologists Debunk Major Myth About Asian Americans

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Sociologists Jennifer Lee and Min Zhou debunk the 'model minority' myth in their 2015 book, 'The Asian American Achievement Paradox'.

9 Things You Can Do to Help End Racism

Protesters hold a rally in solidarity with the people in Ferguson, Missouri protesting the death of Michael Brown and the excessive use of force by police on August 18, 2014 in New York City. Andrew Burton/Getty Images

There are many things you can do to help end racism. This modest list describes anti-racist activism at the individual, community, and national levels.

Whiteness: A Sociological Definition

Paul Bradbury

What does it mean to be white, and how does whiteness connect to other racial categories in the U.S.?

Study Finds Racial and Gender Bias in Professor Response to Students


A 2014 social science study found that American professors are less likely to respond to emails from women and racial minority prospective graduate students. Read on for details about the study, theories as to why, and a discussion of the consequences.

Does Experiencing Racism Affect Your Health?

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A new study found that regional Google searches for the N-word correlate to an increased risk of death by heart disease, stroke, and cancer among the Black population.

What The Whiteness Project Reveals About Race in the U.S.

The Whiteness Project

The Whiteness Project features white people in the U.S. talking about race and racism. What they say may shock you.

The Sociology Expert's Halloween Costume No-Nos


Do you fancy yourself against racism, gender discrimination, sexual exploitation, and economic inequality? Then avoid these Halloween costumes at all cost.

Does Hollywood Have a Diversity Problem?

Actress Kate Hudson arrives at the Universal Pictures premiere of 'You, Me & Dupree' at the Cinerama Dome on July 10, 2006 in Hollywood, California. Kevin Winter/Getty Images

A new report from Annenberg's Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative shows just how bad Hollywood's diversity problem is. 

Sociologists Take Historic Stand on Racism and Police Brutality

Mourners enter the funeral of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO with hands raised in the "Don't Shoot" protest pose. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Over 1800 sociologists signed an open letter calling for immediate action and reform of racist police practices and police brutality following the shooting death of Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO, in August 2014. Find out why they did, and why they believe sociological research can help address police brutality and racism.

The Charleston Shooting and the Problem of White Supremacy

Curtis Clayton holds a sign protesting racism in the wake of last night's shooting at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church June 18, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Whether you call it mass murder, a hate crime, or terrorism, the shooting in Charleston must be recognized as an act of white supremacy.

Everything You Need to Know About Anti-Vaxxers

Studies show that race and class privilege play significant roles in the practices of anti-vaxxer parents, and the consequences of their actions play out unevenly across racial lines.

Five Facts About Police Killings and Race

Ron Koeberer/Getty Images.

Facts culled from several research reports put the outrage at the non-indictment of officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, of Ferguson, MO, in context.

Did the Ferguson Protests Work?

Graffiti is sprayed on the remains of a business that was destroyed during November rioting on March 13, 2015 in Dellwood, Missouri. The rioting broke out after residents learned that the police officer responsible for the killing of Michael Brown would not be charged with any crime. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Since the Ferguson uprising changes are taking place at the national, state, and community levels that promise to have real and lasting impact.

What is Cultural Appropriation

North West with parents Kim Kardashian and Kanye West at her birthday party in Calabasas, California, June, 2014. Kim Kardashian/Instagram

A sociologist explains what cultural appropriation really is, what it isn't, and why it's a big deal to so many.

Discourse: A Sociological Definition

Word cloud from Republican presidential debate, 2011.

Discourse, the structure and content of our thought and communication, including how we describe and discuss groups of people, has powerful implications for people's rights, safety, and well-being.

Racial Formation: A Sociological Theory of Race by Omi & Winant

I, Too, Am Harvard

Sociologists Michael Omi and Howard Winant's theory of racial formation links social structure and stratification to common sense notions of race and racial categories. Learn more about this groundbreaking and noteworthy theory here.

What Are Racial Projects?

John Vachon

Racial projects, defined by Omi and Winant, represent race in ideas, images, and policy. In doing so, they take a position on the meaning of race in society.

Sociology Of Race And Ethnicity

Residents pass a mural in China Town, San Francisco, CA. Philippe Renault/Getty Images

Race and ethnicity are important concepts in the field of sociology, and are studied a great deal. Race plays a large role in everyday human interactions, so sociologists study how, why, and what the outcomes are of these interactions. Learn more about this subfield here.

Sociology of Social Inequality

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Sociologists see society as a stratified system that is based on a hierarchy of power, privilege, and prestige, which leads to unequal access to resources and rights.

Visualizing Social Stratification in the U.S.

A businessman walks by a homeless woman holding a card requesting money on September 28, 2010 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

What is social stratification, and how do race, class, and gender affect it? This slide show brings the concept to life with compelling visualizations.

8 Fascinating Facts About the U.S. Population in 2015

Data from Pew Research Center shows that the multiracial population in the U.S. is growing faster than the population as a whole.
The multiracial population in the U.S. is growing faster than the overall population. Pew Research Center

Highlights from Pew Research Center's year in population research, including facts about immigration, religion, to views on race, among others. 

What is Social Stratification, and Why Does it Matter?

Dimitri Otis/Getty Images

Society is organized into a hierarchy shaped by the intersecting forces of education, race, gender, and economic class, among other things.

What You Need to Know About the Events in Baltimore

Hundreds of demonstrators march toward the Baltimore Police Western District station during a protest against police brutality and the death of Freddie Gray on April 22, 2015 in Baltimore, MD. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A timeline of and context for events leading up to and throughout the Baltimore uprising of 2015 in response to the police killing of Freddie Gray.

What's Wrong with Starbucks's "Race Together" Campaign

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announces the 'Race Together' program during the Starbucks annual shareholders meeting March 18, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Besides being logistically stupid, Starbucks's "Race Together" campaign is loaded with hypocrisy, arrogance, and white privilege.

Does Skin Color Affect How You Rate Intelligence of Others?

Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

A new study found that white people view lighter-skinned blacks and Latinos as smarter than their darker counterparts.

What You Need to Know About the New United States

Erik Audras/Getty Images

With major shifts in the age and racial make-up of our population underway, what will the US look like in 50 years? Significant changes to the country's racial make-up are underway.

Why So Much Fuss About Kylie Jenner and Tyga?

Kylie Jenner sign copies of 'City Of Indra: The Story of Lex And Livia' at Bookends Bookstore on June 3, 2014 in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Dave Kotinsky/FilmMagic

Is the tabloid media storm around Kylie Jenner and rapper Tyga just about age? A sociologist suspects that racial stereotypes are part of it.

Dr. King's Unrealized Dream

Nearly 52 years after Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, studies show that racism persists throughout society, despite the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

Who Is in the 114th Congress?

A critical look at the implications of a mostly white, male, and wealthy government.

Does Race Affect Discipline in Schools?

A September 2014 report from NAACP and National Women's Law Center finds shockingly disparate rates of punishment experienced by black and white girls in schools.

Who Was Hurt the Most by the Great Recession?

Pew Research Center finds that loss of wealth during the Great Recession and the rejuvenation of it during the recovery were not experienced equally. The key factor? Race.

The Black Civil Rights Movement is Back

Though fragmented since the late 1960s, the Black Civil Rights Movement now appears to be back in our streets, schools, and online.

A Sociologist Explains Why Columbus Day Is Racist

Hualapai tribal dancers celebrate the opening of the Skywalk on the Hualapai Reservation at Grand Canyon, Arizona in March, 2007. David McNew/Getty Images

Celebrating Columbus Day honors the racism, brutality, and economic exploitation of the colonial era, and dishonors all of those who suffer those same wrongs today. 

Culture Jamming for Social Change

"Mattress Performance: Carry That Weight" by Emma Sulkowicz and the performance of "Requiem for Mike Brown" by audience members at the St. Louis Symphony are culture jamming at its best.

The Dark History of Sociology's Chicago School

Members of the Chicago Philosophy Club in 1896, including George Herbert Mead and John Dewey, some of the earliest sociologists in the US.

Learn how critiques of sociology by those who often found themselves the object of study, like racial minorities and the poor, have improved the discipline over time.

Five-O App Will Document, and Maybe Change, Police Behavior

The Christian siblings who created Five-O.

The Five-O app has the potential to help social scientists and governments address the national crises of police racism and brutality.

The Sociology of White Male Shooters

A memorial for those killed and injured in Isla Vista, California, by Elliot Rodger on May 23, 2014. Robyn Beck

White male shooters are the manifestation of a society sick with racism and patriarchy. Find out how sociological research supports this statement. 

"Hood Disease" is a Racist Myth, But PTSD Among Inner City Youth is Real

Street art by Banksy.

Inner city youth suffer rates of PTSD at greater rates than do combat veterans, but "hood disease" is a racist myth propagated by the media. 

Black Scholars & Thinkers Who Made Their Mark On Sociology, Part 1

Get to know these black scholars and thinkers who made significant contributions to the field of sociology during the 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Black Scholars & Thinkers Who Left Their Mark on Sociology, Part 2

Get to know these black scholars and thinkers who made significant contributions to the field of sociology during the 20th century.

Biography of W.E.B. Du Bois

C.M. Battey/ Getty Images

Biography of W.E.B. Du Bois, an American sociologist known for being an early scholar of race and racism. He was the first African American to earn a doctorate degree from Harvard University and served as the head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1910.

A Birthday Tribute to the Work of W.E.B. Du Bois

W.E.B. Du Bois at 82 years old in 1950, at the time of his nomination as the American Labor Party candidate for Senator from New York. Keystone/Getty Images

Learn about the greatest hits of this early American sociologist and civil rights activist.

Biography and Work of Patricia Hill Collins, Part 1

Patricia Hill Collins. American Sociological Association

The first installment in a two-part biography and intellectual history of black feminist scholar and leading sociologist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her most important sociological contributions.

Biography and Work of Patricia Hill Collins, Part 2

Students in Roxbury, Boston, celebrate leaving school on a spring day in 1968. Associated Press

Learn about the early life and education of black feminist scholar and sociologist Patricia Hill Collins, in this second installment of a two-part biography and intellectual history.

Book Review of Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools

"Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools" is a book written by Jonathan Kozol that examines the American educational system and the inequalities that exist between poor inner-city schools and more affluent suburban schools.

Why Are Middle Age White People Dying at Greater Rates Than Others?

Two men carry a casket from a church. Rates of mortality among middle aged white Americans have spiked in recent years.
Jacky Lam/Getty Images

Middle age white Americans are dying at far greater rates than other groups, and are mostly dying of drug and alcohol related causes, and suicide. Why?