Sociology Department Colloquium: Mary Pattillo

Thu May 20th 2021, 12:30pm
Sociology Department Colloquium: Mary Pattillo

Please join us for a colloquium being given by Mary Pattillo, Harold Washington Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern University.

Black Advantage Vision: Flipping the Script on Racial Inequality Research

This article proposes a new research agenda for the study of racial inequality: Black Advantage Vision. Black Advantage Vision turns racial inequality and stratification research on its head by actively looking for domains in which Black people do better than White people, and conducting studies that show this outcome. Black Advantage Vision builds from two premises: first, that sociology—and the social sciences more generally—reproduce stigma in our research and teaching, which then piles on to negative information about Black people that permeates U.S. and world culture; and, second, that Black people internalize the stigma of Black disadvantage research and start believing that we are cursed. Black Advantage Vision reminds Black people of our worth, strengths, resilience, care, and accomplishments, while also letting White people know that they are not supreme. In this article, I define and elaborate on the concept of Black Advantage Vision; acknowledge existing statements that challenge anti-Black frameworks in sociology; review empirical studies that find Black advantage; outline how to deploy Black Advantage Vision in new research; and raise and critique the normative assumptions on which Black Advantage Vision rests. This essay is meant to be a provocative invitation to a new approach to research.