Reading Room on Race & Social Justice

Reading Room on Race & Social Justice


The LSU College of Human Sciences & Education invites you to dive below the headlines and explore the books, articles, and chapters written by our own faculty.


book cover Police Use of Excessive Force Against African AmericansBy Ray Von Robertson, Cassandra D. Chaney, Earl Smith

Robertson and Chaney examine how the early antecedents of police brutality like plantation overseers, the lynching of African American males, early race riots, the Rodney King incident, and the Los Angeles Rampart Scandal have directly impacted the current relationship between communities of color and police. Using a phenomenological framework, they analyze how African American college students perceive police to determine how race, gender, and education create different realities among a demographic. Based on their qualitative and quantitative findings, Robertson and Chaney offer recommended policies and strategies for police and communities to improve relationships and perceptions between the two.

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book cover Global Perspectives on Issues and Solutions in Urban EducationBy Petra A. Robinson, Ayana Allen-Handy, Amber Bryant, and Chance W. Lewis

In 2014, The Urban Education Collaborative at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte hosted its first biennial International Conference on Urban Education (ICUE) in Montego Bay, Jamaica. In 2016, the second hosting of the conference took place in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Additionally, in 2018, the third hosting of the conference took place in Nassau, Bahamas. These solution-focused conferences brought together students, teachers, scholars, public sector and business professionals as well as others from around the world to present their research and best practices on various topics pertaining to urban education.

With ICUE’s inspiration, this book is a response to the growing need to highlight the multifaceted aspects of urban education particularly focusing on common issues and solutions in urban environments (e.g., family and community engagement, student academic achievement, teacher preparation and professional development, targeted instructional and disciplinary interventions, opportunity gaps, culturally-relevant and sustaining practices, etc.). Additionally, with this book, we seek to better understand the challenges facing urban educators and students and to offer progressive initiatives toward resolutions. This unique compilation of work is organized under four major themes all targeted at critically addressing concerns that may inhibit the success of urban learners and providing solutions that have implications for curriculum design, development, and delivery; teacher preparation and teaching diverse populations; career readiness and employment; and even more nuanced issues related to foster care, undocumented students and mental health, sustainable consumption, childhood marriage, food deserts, and marine life and urban communities.

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book cover Global Perspectives on Educational TestingAdvances in Education in Diverse Communities: Research, Policy and Praxis, Volume 13
By Keena Arbuthnot

This book provides a refined definition of standardized educational test fairness that can be utilized in multiple contexts to better understand the experiences and perspectives of diverse groups of test takers. Globally, there has been a significant influx in the use of and dependence on standardized tests to foster educational improvements. Standardized testing programs such as TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study), are designed to provide information about a country's global standing in multiple academic areas, ranking individuals and/or groups relative to the performance of others. The high-stakes nature of standardized tests has increased public concern and interest in issues related to test fairness. Since standardized test performance has a profound influence on multiple aspects of educational systems, it is imperative to better understand and examine issues of fairness.

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book cover for Understanding, Dismantling, and Disrupting the prison-to-school PipelineBy Kenneth J. Fasching-Varner (Editor), Lori Latrice Martin (Editor), Roland W. Mitchell Louisiana State University (Editor), Karen Bennett-Haron (Editor), Arash Daneshzadeh (Editor)

This volume examines the school-to-prison pipeline, a concept that has received growing attention over the past 10–15 years in the United States. The “pipeline” refers to a number of interrelated concepts and activities that most often include the criminalization of students and student behavior, the police-like state found in many schools throughout the country, and the introduction of youth into the criminal justice system at an early age. The school-to-prison pipeline negatively and disproportionally affects communities of color throughout the United States, particularly in urban areas. Given the demographic composition of public schools in the United States, the nature of student performance in schools over the past 50 years, the manifestation of school-to-prison pipeline approaches pervasive throughout the country and the world, and the growing incarceration rates for youth, this volume explores this issue from the sociological, criminological, and educational perspectives.

Understanding, Dismantling, and Disrupting the Prison-to-School Pipeline has contributions from scholars and practitioners who work in the fields of sociology, counseling, criminal justice, and who are working to dismantle the pipeline. While the academic conversation has consistently called the pipeline ‘school-to-prison,’ including the framing of many chapters in this book, the economic and market forces driving the prison-industrial complex urge us to consider reframing the pipeline as one working from ‘prison-to-school.’ This volume points toward the tensions between efforts to articulate values of democratic education and schooling against practices that criminalize youth and engage students in reductionist and legalistic manners.

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book cover of Black Faculty in the AcademyBy Fred A. Bonner II (Editor), Aretha Faye Marbley (Editor), Frank Tuitt (Editor), Petra A. Robinson (Editor), Rosa M. Banda (Editor), Robin L. Hughes (Editor)

Through candid discussions and personal counter-narrative stories, Black Faculty in the Academy explores the experiences and challenges faced by faculty of color in academe. Black faculty in predominantly White college and university settings must negotiate multiple and competing identities while struggling with issues of marginality, otherness, and invisible barriers. This important book illuminates how faculty can develop a professional identity that leads to success in academe, while at the same time remaining true to cultural and personal identities. Through rich narratives, chapter authors situate race-related encounters at the center of their experience in an effort to deconstruct and challenge commonly held assumptions about life in academe. They also provide key recommendations and strategies to help faculty of color ensure their continued professional success. Framed by critical race theory, these stories show how faculty can successfully maneuver through all stages of a career in academe, including tenure and promotion, publication, mentoring, networking, teaching, and dealing with institutional climate issues. This valuable book is for faculty and administrators seeking to create an environment that nurtures professional growth and fosters success among Black faculty.

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book cover for Filling in the BlanksContemporary Perspectives in Race and Ethnic Relations
By Keena Arbuthnot

A volume in Contemporary Perspectives in Race and Ethnic Relations Series Editors:M. Christopher Brown II, Alcorn State University and T. Elon Dancy II, University of Oklahoma Filling in the Blanks is a book dedicated to helping policymakers, researchers, academics and teachers, better understand standardized testing and the Black-White achievement gap. This book provides a wealth of background information, as well as the most recent findings, about testing and measurement concepts essential to understanding standardized tests. The book then reviews theories and research that has been conducted which explain the differences in performance between Black and White test takers on many standardized tests. Most notably, Filling in the Blanks presents several new theories that address why Black students do not perform as well as their White counterparts. These theories present very novel and innovative perspectives to understanding these test performance differences. The book ends with a host of recommendations that are intended to address the concerns and questions of several stakeholder groups. . The series centers on volumes that treat race and ethnicity in conjunction or parallel with social sciences, human studies, public policy, and/or education and that disseminate ideas and strategies useful for various communities against a backdrop of race and/or ethnicity in America. Books in this series foreground novel thinking about race and ethnicity, important policy/praxis issues, developing trends and responses across society, and the concerns of public and/or institutional constituencies. To the extent possible, books in the series explore the interconnection of multiple perspectives, while concurrently articulating implications resultant from the intersections of race/ethnicity (i.e. gender, class, sexual orientation, creed, ability). Each volume investigates one or more critical topics missing from the extant literature, and engages one or more theoretical perspectives.

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book cover for Through the Fire - From Intake to CredentialConstructing Knowledge: Curriculum Studies in Action

Cleveland Hayes, Kenneth Fasching-Varner, Hillary Eisworth, and Kimberly White-Smith

By applying an auto-ethnographic approach in this volume to share and explore the experiences of prospective teachers as they navigate the preparation and credentialing processes of teacher education, we - as those who have gone before the future educators in this text and those who will come behind them, gain first hand insights from these young women and men about what it means and how to better prepare prospective educators to become a teacher against a backdrop of historical inequities in schooling and prepared for the multi-culturally diverse classrooms of today. Teacher educators, school and community leaders, and others committed to pushing toward more equitable social domains and forms of living and learning hence would do well to take up the opportunity provided in this text to learn from the narratives included in this volume and those of other teacher candidates; indeed, the narratives of teacher candidates herein and elsewhere are, in part, reflections of ourselves as teacher educators and evaluations of our work in teacher education and the professional preparation of those who will carry on our professions after us and for rising generations. What we as teacher educators teach, or think we are teaching, in teacher preparation courses may, or may not, be what prospective teachers are learning about being a teacher and successful teaching and learning for all learners, particularly those students historically underserved.

Each of the prospective educators who share their narratives in this volume are striving to become critical educators capable of promoting equitable educational and social opportunities, outcomes, and experiences for all learners. While their journeys are each distinctive and unique to them personally, the teacher candidates who share their narratives in this volume highlight some of the challenges and opportunities they have encountered in teacher preparation courses to learn about the functioning of social structures that sustain society's existing hierarchies and develop the skills and knowledge requisite to identify, implement, and assess critical learning strategies aimed at challenging inequities and promoting more inclusive forms of education. Specifically, these future teachers included in this volume are sharing with us, their readers, their attempts at learning to unhook from Whiteness and to disrupt the pernicious and historical school-to-prison pipeline that has long existed in the US between the nation's prison system and schools serving learners and their families and communities identified as racially not White, economically poor, and otherwise not members of the White, middle-class, primary English speaking, heterosexual, patriarchal mainstream.

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book cover for Assault on Communities of ColorKennethFasching-Varner andNicholas Daniel Hartlep

Contributing Editors: Lori L. Martin, Cleveland Hayes, Roland W. Mitchell, and Chaunda M. Allen-Mitchell

The United States is not post-racial, despite claims otherwise. The days of lynching have been replaced with a pernicious modern racism and race-based violence equally strong and more difficult to untangle. This violence too often results in the killing of Black Americans, particularly males. While society may believe we have transcended race, contemporary history tells another story with the recent killings of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and others. While their deaths are tragic, the greater tragedy is that incidents making the news are only a fraction of the assault on communities of color in. This volume takes seriously the need for concentrated and powerful dialogue to emerge in the wake of these murders that illuminates the assault in a powerful and provocative way. Through a series of essays, written by leading and emerging academics in the field of race studies, the short “conversations” in this collection challenge readers to contemplate the myth of post-raciality, and the real nature of the assaults on communities of color. The essays in this volume, all under 2000 words, cut to the heart of the matter using current assaults as points of departure and is relevant to education, sociology, law, social work, and criminology.

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book cover for Black Rhetorical TraditionsBy Herman Kelly

The carefully curated readings in Black Rhetorical Traditions in the Civil Rights Movement: Voices of Struggle and Strength guide students through troubled times and show how the Black rhetorical tradition both informed and empowered African Americans. The collected works highlight voices that spoke out, even when confronting great danger.

As they engage with the selections, students become familiar with the power, purpose, and passion that are part of this rhetorical tradition, and how it has long been manifested in song and sermon, speech, dance, and poetry. The experiences of African Americans come to life in works on the roots of lynching, African American religion, school desegregation, African emigration, the Jim Crow era, and more. The material is further enhanced by the inclusion of personal experiences of the author-editor and his family.

Sensitive and powerful, Black Rhetorical Traditions in the Civil Rights Movement is the story of voices that would not be silenced in the face of slavery, racism, and discrimination. The anthology is an excellent choice for courses in African American studies, African American religious traditions, and history.

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book cover for #BrokenPromisesEditors: Kenneth J. Fasching-Varner, Kerri J. Tobin and Stephen M. Lentz

Many urban centres are shaken to their core with mistrust between communities and law enforcement. Erosion was exacerbated in the Obama-era, intensified during the 2016 campaign, and is violently manifested in Trump’s presidency. The promise of uniting communities articulated by leaders lays broken. The text suggests that promise of prosperous and engaged urban citizenry will remain broken until we can honestly address the following unanswered questions: What factors contribute to the creation of divided communities? What happened to erode trust between community and law enforcement? What concerns and challenges do law enforcement officials have relating to policing within urban centres? What are the experiences of residents and police? And, finally, whose lives really matter, and how do we move forward?

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Book cover of Expanding Elementary Teacher Education Through Service-LearningMargaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell and Tynisha D. Meidl

Teacher education programs and colleges of education face a multilayered task of preparing teachers to teach in increasingly divergent environments where children of color encompass a significant number of urban school populations. Yet the teaching force remains predominantly white, middle-income, monolingual, and female. Compounding this complex issue, the racial and the socio-economic makeup of many teacher education faculty mirrors the teacher candidate population.

The goal of this handbook is to offer teacher educators a blue print for strengthening and extending traditional literacy field experiences to include service-learning components. As literacy teacher educators, Sulentic Dowell and Meidl demonstrate how teacher education can be transformed to include more authentic, meaningful, and preparatory field experiences. Adding service-learning components expands teacher education to more adequately prepare elementary education candidates to meet children’s needs in 21st century, urban elementary classrooms. This handbook considers the need to redefine and reconfigure teacher education in regards to literacy teaching and learning.

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Book cover of Handbook of Research on Service-Learning Initiatives in Teacher Education ProgramsTynisha D. Meidl and Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell

Teacher education programs serve traditional and non-traditional students and develop teachers to enter a range of teaching environments. Approaching teacher education through community involvement and learning objectives helps to effectively prepare teachers to serve local and community needs.

The Handbook of Research on Service-Learning Initiatives in Teacher Education Programs provides emerging research on the methods and techniques for educators to strengthen their knowledge regarding the intersection of service learning and field placements. While highlighting topics, such as cultural competency, teacher development, and multicultural education, this book explores the benefits, challenges, and opportunities for employing community service as the driving framework for field experiences. This publication is a vital resource for practitioners, educators, faculty, and administrators seeking current research on the opportunity of field involvement to enhance teacher candidates experiences and provide a channel for meaningful learning.

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Book Chapters

Petra A. Robinson (Louisiana State University, USA) and Julie J. Henriquez Aldana (Tulane University, USA)

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” is a common phrase used to inspire optimism despite facing adversity. The purpose of this chapter is to acknowledge the prevalence and burden of cultural taxation (the figurative lemon) in academia and to illustrate how faculty of color can design and teach race-related courses that help to develop global citizens who think critically and value reflexivity and diversity (make lemonade). In doing so, faculty can promote social justice while helping to erode the status quo related to this taxation. Based on the findings of a qualitative research study, the authors outline various perspectives from students who report experiencing personal transformations as a result of taking a graduate level class related to diversity and social justice. The chapter also focuses on the experiences of the faculty member who taught the class as part of the curriculum in an Adult Education doctoral program in the USA.

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By Garn, A.C., Martin, J.J., Byrd, B., and McCaughtry, N.
In book: Inclusive Physical Activities: International Perspectives; Publisher: IAP, Editors: Alexandre J. S. Morin, Christope Maiano, Danielle Tracy, Rhonda G. Craven

Increasing numbers of children and adolescents internationally are being diagnosed with secondary health problems (e.g., overweight-obesity, diabetes, asthma, anxiety, etc.) due in part, or at least related to, a lack of physical activity. Children and adolescents with various forms of special needs (for example, children and adolescents with physical or intellectual disabilities, children and adolescents from disadvantaged social backgrounds and children and adolescents with chronic illnesses) seem to be particularly at risk for secondary health problems, which in the end limit their social participation and inclusion, as well as their ability to achieve their full potential and to lead happy and fulfilling lives. For these children and adolescents, involvement in regular physical activities (including fitness activities and sports) may have far reaching benefits. For instance, organized physical activities are known to represent an effective vehicle for interventions for children and adolescents with special needs who do not seem to benefit as much as others from more traditional, verbal-oriented approaches. Organized physical activities (in or out of school) further provide these children and adolescents with opportunities to interact in a positive manner with prosocial peers and adults who may serve as positive role models for them. There is currently a paucity of research about physical activities that effectively include children and adolescents with a range of special needs or research that identifies evidence-based strategies that seed success in maximizing the involvement in, and the positive biopsychosocial outcomes associated with, the practice of physical activity. This dearth of research is impeding progress in addressing the biopsychosocial disadvantage that these children and adolescents encounter, the development of new solutions for enabling full potential, and ensuring that children and adolescents with special needs not only succeed, but also flourish in life. This volume includes examples of theory, research, policy, and practice that will advance our understanding of how best to encourage these children and adolescents to participate regularly in physical activity, how to maximize the biopsychosocial benefits of involvement in physical activities, and how to ensure that these physical activities are inclusive for children and adolescents with special needs. The focus will be placed on research-derived physical activity practices that seed success for children and adolescents with special needs, and new directions in theory, research, and practice that have implications for enhancing physical activity practices with at-risk children and adolescents. The themes covered in this volume include: - Strategies to maximize participation of children and adolescents with special needs in physical activity as a global priority; - Strategies to maximize the social inclusion of children and adolescents with special needs in general physical activities; - Effective physical education strategies to enhance biopsychosocial outcomes for children and adolescents with special needs; - Advancing the practice of educators and coaches to cultivate the social inclusion and participation in physical activity of children and adolescents with special needs; and - Challenging the meaning and implementation of inclusive practices in physical education globally.

Estanislado S. Barrera, IV and Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell
Chapter 8 |  Academic Service-Learning as a Pedagogical Tool and Strategy: Promoting Critical Thinking among Pre-Service Teachers
In: Handbook of Research on Advancing Critical Thinking in Higher Education by Sherrie Wisdom and Lynda Leavitt

This chapter presellts academic service-learning (AS-L) as a pedagogical tool and strategy for pro­moting critical thinking among pre-service teachers. The results of the nvo cases discussed reveal that many well-intentioned young education majors' frames of reference about urban education indicate a dissonance of experience. Public urban education in the US is becoming increasingly stratified with teachers representing White, female, middle income backgrounds and resultant perspectives, but public school children in the United States represent families of color and communities that are predominantly poor. AS-L truly promotes critical thinking about teaching and learning, especially when the tensions surrounding d(/j'erence smface. Findings indicate that pre-service teachers must first overcome bias, negative expectations, and stereotypes before they synthesize the elements of the instructional process that leads to achieving reflective praxis.

By: Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell and Leah Katherine Saal

Appears in: Reading Between the Lines: Activities for Developing Social Awareness Literacy
by Joanne Dowdy (Author), Kenneth Cushner (Author)

This activity provides a template for both preservice and inservice teachers concerned about social justice issues but unsure how to address them. Often, social issues are sanitized or ignored because of potentially problematic themes. To engage students in literacy activities such as speaking, listening, reading, and writing centered on so­cial justice issues, we offer a prototype of how preservice and inservice teachers might encourage students to become inquirers. Through student participation in literacy activities focused on themes rooted in social justice in a localized context, teachers can promote meaningful agency - leading to advocacy and activism.

By: Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell, pages 237 - 255

In: Exploring Cultural Dynamics and Tensions Within Service-Learning,  by Trae Stewart (Editor), Nicole Webster (Editor)
New Orleans East borders the swampland and wildlife refuges at the out­ermost edges of the greater New Orleans metroplex. It is situated adjacent to Gentilly, which abuts the 9th Ward. Levee breaches inundated the East with flood waters, destroying its infrastructure, neighborhoods, commerce and schools, destroying a vibrant, mostly middle class, professional Black enclave. Post-Katrina, the New Orleans area faced both alarming yet rivet­ing challenges as it recovered, rebuilt and experienced a rebirth in terms of educational reform. Nowhere was that more apparent than within the public school system. In August 2007 Abramson Science and Technology Charter School, serving grades K-9, opened in New Orleans East providing education in one of the areas most severely impacted by Hurricane Katrina. The school had no working library and children lacked opportunities to access literature with the only access being a temporary branch library located within another charter school in the East.



By Keena Arbuthnot

Harvard Educational Review, v79 n3 p448-473 Fall 2009
Although research has extensively documented sources for differential item functioning and stereotype threat--especially among women and black college students--little is known about group differences in test-taking strategies among black adolescent students. In this article, Arbuthnot presents findings from two studies that seek to explore how stereotype threat affects standardized test performance in mathematics among black eighth-grade students. The author contextualizes the studies in a discussion of prior research and presents findings from an analysis of black students' test performances on standardized mathematics exam questions that do and do not include differential item functioning. Arbuthnot complements this work by exploring the strategies test-takers use to process test items. Findings from the two studies suggest that stereotype threat may have a negative impact on black adolescent students' test-taking strategies and achievement on mathematics standardized tests. The author concludes the article by posing implications for new test development that takes into consideration the potential impact of stereotype threat. (Contains 2 figures, 2 tables, and 8 notes.)

By Jas M. Sullivan, Keena N. Arbuthnot

Journal of Black Studies
Although Barack Obama’s entrance into the 2008 presidential campaign has been warmly received by Whites, Blacks have been somewhat ambivalent. Some even have claimed that Obama is not “Black.” The case of Barack Obama brings to the forefront the prospect of intragroup identity differences that exist among Blacks and the potential importance of a candidate’s racial background in elections. Consequently, the authors ask the following questions: (a) Does the racial background of a political candidate affect Black voters’ support and evaluation of a candidate’s personal attributes (i.e., trust, concern, strength, and qualification)? and (b) Focusing purely on the treatment groups separately (White, biracial, and Black candidates), does Black identity affect Blacks’ support and evaluation of a candidate’s personal attributes? The experimental results of this exploratory study find race does make a difference on candidate support, and Black identity influences the way in which Black respondents perceive White, biracial, and Black candidates. As a result, these findings suggest that differences in how Blacks feel about a candidate will depend on the candidate’s racial background, their own attitudes and beliefs about being Black, and where they fall on various demographic and political measures.

Ju, B., & Stewart, B. (2019). “The right information”: perceptions of information bias among Black Wikipedians. Journal of Documentation. 75.(6)

Journal of Documentation
There is currently a dearth of research on African American college students and their interactions in academic libraries. The purpose of this quantitative study is to investigate whether African American college students view academic libraries as welcoming places and to identify factors that are most influential in their perceptions of welcomeness. Adopting the theoretical lens of “library in the life of the user,” we administered a national online survey questionnaire to 160 black college students attending non-historically black colleges and universities in the United States. The survey data were analyzed by employing correlation coefficient and multiple regression analysis to test our hypotheses. The analytical results showed that participants felt welcomed in academic libraries, and library as place and information needs were significant factors that affected students’ perceptions of welcomeness. Our findings suggest that library patrons are important actors in constituting the atmospheric character of the library.

Clayton, A. B., & Peters, B. A. (2019). The desegregation of land-grant institutions in the 1950s: The first African American students at NC State University and Virginia Tech. The Journal of Negro Education, 88(1), 75-92.

Journal of Documentation
This article focuses on the first African American students at two southern land-grant universities, North Carolina State University and Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (Virginia Tech). Although these institutions integrated in the 1950s, most of the current desegregation scholarship focuses on other southern institutions in the 1960s. Using both primary and secondary sources, this study examines the integration process during the 1950s at two similar land-grant universities in two adjacent states. Importantly, this study offers a balanced comparison of institutional integration not previously examined. Desegregation at both North Carolina State University and Virginia Tech was a gradual process that was less physically violent compared to other southern institutions.

Means, D. R., Clayton, A. B., Conzelmann, J. G., Baynes, P., & Umbach, P. D. (2016). Bounded aspirations: Rural, African American high school students and college access. The Review of Higher Education, 39(4), 543-569.

The Review of Higher Education
The purpose of this paper is to examine motivators that drive Black Wikipedia contribution. The authors explore motivations around content contribution, effects of gender on motivations and self-perceptions of Black Wikipedia labor. A total of 318 Black American Wikipedia contributors completed an online survey. The authors employed both quantitative and qualitative methods in the study including descriptive statistics, multivariate (MANOVA) and univariate (ANOVA) analysis of variance to examine gender differences in Wikipedia content contribution. In addition, open-ended responses were evaluated, through content analysis, to make inferences on their perceptions of Wikipedia labor. This paper identifies racial identity and perceptions of information quality as strong motivators in content contribution among Black Wikipedians. Motivators are gender variant; men are more motivated than women with the lone exception being racial identity. Additionally, the study identifies Wikipedia as a contested space among Black contributors and is a site of resistance.

By Jeffry Martin, Brigid Byrd, Alex Garn, Nate McCaughtry, and Noel Kulik

Urban Review, 48, 403-418
Purpose: The purpose of this cross sectional study was to predict feelings of belonging and social
responsibility based on the motivational climate perceptions and contingent self-worth of children
participating in urban after-school physical activity programs. Method: Three-hundred and four
elementary school students from a major Midwestern city participated. Results: Based on multiple
regression analyses we predicted 39% of the variance in feelings of belonging largely due to
perceptions of leadership emotional support and task climate and 31% of the variance in feelings
of social responsibility largely due to perceptions of a caring climate. Conclusions: Our findings
support the importance of after school physical activity programs, which appear to provide
nurturing environments that may contribute to feelings of belonging and social responsibility.

By Maria Kosma and David R. Buchanan

International Quarterly of Community Health Education
The purpose of this phronetic/pragmatic, mixed-methods study was to integrate quantitative data with qualitative data in examining the complex relations among depression, exercise, screen-viewing time, and life plans among 14 socioeconomically disadvantaged African American young adults. Based on the thematic analysis, the two emerging themes were as follows: life priorities (passing the General Educational Development [GED] test, pursuing profession/career, and being dedicated to church/ministry) and challenges in passing GED examination (e.g., difficulties with the GED test, high stress and low confidence, low interest in studying, health issues, and feelings of rejection/isolation). Based on cross tabulation, depression was highly associated with aerobic exercise and screen-viewing time (Cramer’s V = .44 and .42, respectively). Participants’ life challenges diminished the antidepressant effect of exercise and were linked to depression and excessive screen use. Two active men and a somewhat active woman experienced educational or health-related struggles, heavy screen watching, and severe depression. All three active men experienced educational challenges and severe depression. Two inactive participants reported limited screen use and limited depression, possibly because of their valued life goals (e.g., writing poetry and spiritually helping others). Contrary to the dominant cultural stereotype about African Americans being lazy, the study results show that the participants had highly similar career goals to the majority population yet faced many, significant structural barriers that interfered with their progress and thus sapped their motivation in achieving their life plans. Policy change is needed to reduce social structural barriers and racial systems of oppression in order to decrease poverty and depression.

By Maria Kosma, David R. Buchanan

International Journal of Kinesiology & Sports Science
Background: Although exercise participation has numerous benefits among young adults, socio-economically disadvantaged ethnic minorities tend to be less active than their White counterparts of higher SES. Instead of relying on logical positivism in exercise promotion, a phronetic (humanistic) approach may better assist with understanding exercise behavior. Objective: The study purpose was to examine the exercise behavior and qualitatively distinct exercise values (e.g., activity and inactivity reasons) among socio-economically disadvantaged African American young adults. Method: This was a phronetic, qualitative study among 14 African American young adults (Mage = 32.97 years old ±14.13), who attended General Educational Development classes in an inner-city learning center. An in-depth and dialogical interview process was conducted regarding exercise behavior, positive and negative exercise experiences, reasons for exercise participation or not, exercise behavior of participants’ peers and significant others, and neighborhood safety. Results: Only three men met the minimum aerobic exercise recommendations and their main activity was basketball. Three individuals were somewhat active, while the rest of the participants were inactive. Based on the phronetic, thematic analysis, two themes emerged. Exercise facilitators included enjoyment (from skill and fitness development in a playful setting), health improvement, weight loss and toned physique, and utilitarian purpose (i.e., karate to work for campus security). Exercise barriers included time constraints and other priorities (school, work, caretaking), injuries, accessibility and cost issues, safety issues (unsafe neighborhoods), personality (lack of motivation and self-discipline), and undesirable results on appearance and performance. Conclusion: Exercise promoters should emphasize: a) playful, culturally meaningful, and socially supported activities to increase fitness, skill development, and enjoyment; b) policy change via the provision of parental leave for both parents; c) safe and accessible exercise settings, especially among women of lower SES; d) information about safe exercises and injury recovery; and e) fit and healthy physiques for personal fulfillment and enjoyment.

By Jeremy Foreman, Brian Soebbing, Chad Seifried, Kwame Agyemang

International Journal of Sport Management, 19, 315-338
Previous research regarding the relationship between managerial career advancement in the National Football League (NFL) and race, the Rooney Rule, and centrality (i.e., central position experience) was mixed or limited. The present study is designed to examine the aforementioned relationships in the NFL from 1984 through 2016. Using logistic regression models, evidence of racial disparities and centrality preferences are found; however, the implementation of the Rooney Rule does not significantly increase coaching diversity. Other determinants of promotions are also examined, such as individual and organizational performance, coaching experience, and age. Implications for sport and non-sport managers and organizations are discussed. Keywords: promotion, labor, discrimination, diversity, policy.

By Amanda E. Staiano, Deirdre M. Harrington, Neil M. Johannsen, Robert L. Newton Jr, Mark A. Sarzynski, Damon L. Swift, Peter T. Katzmarzyk

Ethnicity and Disease. 2015 Winter;25(1):31-7
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) prevalence in the United States is significantly higher in African Americans vs Whites. Yet, the physiological mechanisms contributing to this health disparity have been poorly described. To design effective strategies to reduce this disparity, there is a need to determine whether racial differences in diabetes prevalence are attributable to modifiable or non-modifiable factors. This review synthesizes and critically evaluates the potential physiological and genetic mechanisms that may contribute to the higher susceptibility of African Americans to T2D. These mechanisms include: 1) obesity and fat distribution; 2) metabolic flexibility; 3) muscle physiology; 4) energy expenditure and fitness; and 5) genetics. We focus on the clinical significance of findings and limitations of the recent literature.

By Maria Kosma, Jan M. Hondzinski, David R. Buchanan

International Journal of Kinesiology & Sports Science, 5, 16-27
Background of Study: Although exercise has many benefits, older African American (AA) women are less active than older Caucasian women and older AA men. Balance and muscle-strengthening activities are typically recommended for decreased falls, whereas the role of aerobic training alone on falls prevention is controversial. Objective: This was a mixed methods phronetic (pragmatic) study – without an intervention – including quantitative data (falls risks) and qualitative data on exercise behavior and its importance to health and falls prevention; therefore, the studied phenomenon was thoroughly and pragmatically investigated. The first purpose of the study was to examine differences in falls risks based on exercise type (aerobics vs. combination of aerobics, muscle training, and balance activities) and exercise level (active people vs. somewhat active people). Secondly, participants’ exercise values were examined in relation to their health, falls-risk prevention, exercise behavior, and falls risks. Method: Interviews and falls risk assessments were conducted among 12 older AA women in an inner-city community center. Results: ANCOVA and ANOVA showed that the aerobics group performed better in Dynamic Gait Index (DGI) and Timed Up and Go than the combination group (d =0.85, -0.97); the latter surpassed the former in Functional Reach (d = 2.27). The active group (met the 150 minutes/week exercise recommendation) performed better in DGI and Six-Minute Walk than the somewhat active group (d =0.62.,50); the latter outperformed the former in balance-eyes open (d = -0.52). Emerging themes about lifestyle values included: a) reasons for health conditions and staying healthy and b) falls prevention. Conclusion: Exercise programs for fall risk reduction should include not only muscle strengthening and balance activities, but also aerobic exercises. Meeting minimum exercise recommendations is key to falls risk reduction. Beyond healthy diet, the role of exercise on the prevention of health conditions needs to be emphasized.

By Kenneth J. Fasching-Varner, Roland W. Mitchell, Lori L. Martin & Karen P. Bennett-Haron

Equity & Excellence in Education, 47:4, 410-429
Much scholarly attention has been paid to the school-to-prison pipeline and the sanitized discourse of “death by education,” called the achievement gap. Additionally, there exists a longstanding discourse surrounding the alleged crisis of educational failure. This article offers no solutions to the crisis and suggests instead that the system is functioning as it was intended—to disenfranchise many (predominately people of color) for the benefit of some (mostly white), based on economic principals of the free market. We begin by tracing the economic interests of prisons and the prison industrial complex, juxtaposing considerations of what we call the “educational reform industrial complex.” With a baseline in the economic interests of school failure and prison proliferation, we draw on the critical race theory concept of racial realism, to work toward a theory of educational and penal realism. Specifically, we outline seven working tenets of educational and penal realism that provide promise in redirecting the discourse about schools and prisons empowering those interested in critically engaging issues of racism that permeate U.S. orientations to education and justice.

By Mitchell, R. W., Wood, G. K., & Witherspoon, N.

Equity and Excellence in Education, 43(3), 294-309
This exploratory essay critically examines how social relations structure the production of space on a college campus. In particular, we analyze how the organization of one particular site—the student advising office at a southeastern university—calls attention to the relationship between race and space in ways that re-inscribe narrow definitions of academic advising that are tied to the larger context of the universities and that continue to exclude students of color. Consequently, through this article, we use the university academic advising office as an example of a reified racialized space. To this end, by applying Henri Lefebvre's (1991) concept of critical geography, discourse analysis, and critical race theory to a specific advising session between a black advisor and a black student, we provide a lens to analyze this norming of space within the constraints of a prescriptive approach to advising. The results from our inquiry suggest that institutional interpretations of race have significant material and psychic consequences for the ways that students of color experience schooling in majority white contexts. If higher education is truly committed to addressing the remnants of its racially exclusive past, these areas must be better understood and addressed.

By Witherspoon, N., & Mitchell, R. W. 

International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 22(6), 655-670
William Tate proposed that critical race scholars in education look to moral and spiritual texts to unpack and interrogate the workings of race and other forms of marginalization in schools. While Tate did not offer the ways in which this vision is manifest, the participants in this study situated themselves within a religio‐spiritual worldview through which they sought social justice in schools. The authors in this paper highlight a theoretical framework by an inclusive reading of Critical Race Theory as ‘ordinary theology’ to explore how Black female principals interrogate gendered and raced practices and promote social justice in schools.

By Mitchell, R., & Rosiek, J. 

The Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, 28(3-4), 395-409
In 1996, Stuart Hall gave a famous lecture entitled "Race: The Floating Signifier." In that lecture, Hall argued against an ontology of race that linked racial identification to any other human characteristic. Undertaking a broad survey of the history of the concept of race, Hall highlighted how the meaning of the signifiers of racial identity have changed depending on the time and place in which they were being interpreted. At a philosophical level, this meant that the signifiers of race have "floated" free of any transcendental reality which might stabilize their meaning. In more concrete terms, it meant that although the signifiers of race are most often found on the body, there is nothing in the body that gives those signifiers meaning. This is not to say that the construct of race is meaningless. Hall, along with many others who have recognized the radically socially constructed nature of racial identity, argue that race and racial identity has significant material and psychic consequences on a global scale. What needs analysis, therefore, are the reasons the construct of race has remained so salient, despite the fact that it lacks a stable referent. Hall offers the broad outlines of such an explanation. Drawing upon post-structuralist sociology, post-Marxist theory, and postcolonial theory, Hall argued that racial signifiers take on meaning in the context of social discourses that organize individual and institutional behavior. These discourses constitute a field of power that encode the interests of various constituencies, are the site of ongoing contestation, and influence desires and self-concepts. Hall's analysis was an early part of an emerging field of social, political, and cultural theory that has subjected the idea of race to close critical examination. What is also needed beyond this explanatory project is an exploration of the possibilities for intervention in the constantly shifting terrain of racial politics, white supremacy, and colonialism. This essay takes up that project in the context of higher education classrooms. It asks: What practical knowledge enables college-level instructors to teach in a manner that disrupts patterns of low retention, low achievement, and low levels of satisfaction among students of color at majority-white universities? The authors present a framework for conducting empirical research on this question and a case study that illustrates the value of such research.

By Mitchell, R.

Voice in Qualitative Inquiry (pp. 89-108)
Voice in Qualitative Inquiry is a critical response to conventional, interpretive, and critical conceptions of voice in qualitative inquiry. A select group of contributors focus collectively on the question, "What does it mean to work the limits of voice?" from theoretical, methodological, and interpretative positions, and the result is an innovative challenge to traditional notions of voice. The thought-provoking book will shift qualitative inquiry away from unproblematically engaging in practices and interpretations that limit what "counts" as voice and therefore data. The loss and betrayal of comfort and authority when qualitative researchers work the limits of voice will lead to new disruptions and irruptions in making meaning from data and, in turn, will add inventive and critical dialogue to the conversation about voice in qualitative inquiry.

By Flowers, A., III, Robinson, P.A., Bonner, F.A., Harper, R, & Tarlton, E.

National Journal of Urban Education and Practice, (7)3, 198-212

By Bonner, F.A. II, Robinson, P.A., Louis, D.A. & Lofton, B. 

National Journal of Urban Education & Practice, 6(3), 29-40

Brenton Stewart, Boryung Ju, and Kaetrena Davis Kendrick, "Racial Climate and Inclusiveness in Academic Libraries: Perceptions of Welcomeness among Black College Students," The Library Quarterly 89, no. 1 (January 2019): 16-33.

There is currently a dearth of research on African American college students and their interactions in academic libraries. The purpose of this quantitative study is to investigate whether African American college students view academic libraries as welcoming places and to identify factors that are most influential in their perceptions of welcomeness. Adopting the theoretical lens of “library in the life of the user,” we administered a national online survey questionnaire to 160 black college students attending non-historically black colleges and universities in the United States. The survey data were analyzed by employing correlation coefficient and multiple regression analysis to test our hypotheses. The analytical results showed that participants felt welcomed in academic libraries, and library as place and information needs were significant factors that affected students’ perceptions of welcomeness. Our findings suggest that library patrons are important actors in constituting the atmospheric character of the library.

Stewart, B., & Kendrick, K. D. (2019). “Hard to find”: information barriers among LGBT college students. Aslib Journal of Information Management 71(5).

The purpose of this paper is to examine collegiate information barriers and perceptions of academic library climate among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) college students in the USA. The primary method used for this investigation was an online crowdsourced survey of 105 participants who attended two and four-year colleges in the USA. The questionnaire used free word association where participants shared information barriers encountered on college campuses. Responses from each questionnaire were interpreted using open coding. Information barriers around sexuality continue to be a challenge for non- heteronormative information seekers on college campuses. One-third of students had distinctive information needs around their sexuality and experienced information barriers from both the institution and social stigma. The study reveals an evolution in sexual minority students’ sense of self, which has moved beyond the binary identity of gay/lesbian explored in previous studies; students identified bisexuality as a salient information need, and described a campus environment that often erased bisexuality. The academic library was described as an information barrier due to inadequate sexual minority-related resources. Academic librarians as well as higher education professionals, such as recruitment/admissions officers, student counseling services, student health and student affairs, can leverage the results of this study to help establish a more inclusive and welcoming information environment that empowers students for academic and personal success. 


Dana L. Bickmore & Margaret Mary Sulentic Dowell

International Journal of Leadership in Education Theory and Practic
US charter schools experience higher rates of teacher turnover than traditional public schools. The purpose of this study was to examine charter principals’ professional dispositions and practices that might contribute to teacher turnover. Specifically we asked – How do charter school principal professional dispositions and practices affect school working conditions and impact teacher commitment to remain or leave a charter schools? The study design was an embedded three-year case study of principal leadership in two charter schools. Data sources included principal and teacher interviews, school observations, and artifacts. Themes were derived from two constant comparative analyses, one of principal dispositions, a second of principal practices that might impact teacher working conditions. Analysis indicated that principals’ dispositions were related to practices that affected working conditions, which in turn, impacted teacher turnover. Principals’ dispositions – autocratic ‘no excuses’ attitudes and valuing management leadership and accountability results – led to practices that created limited support for teachers, both organizationally and personally.

Saal, L. K., Sulentic Dowell, M-M., & Meidl, T. D. (2019). Ethics of access: Provocative impacts of K–12 service-learning and civic engagement policy. International Journal of Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement, 7(1), Article 9.

In K-12 settings, civic engagement curricula and service-learning hold promise for developing the agency and capacity of marginalized youth, their families, and their communities to effectively address self-identified needs. Yet, ethical issues of access around educator preparation, both teacher preparation and counselor preparation, and subsequent student participation exist even where state level policy dictates civic engagement’s use. In this multi-case study, three engaged scholars/teacher educators share three distinct cases, each focusing on a specific state’s policy positions on civic engagement, including service-learning, in the U.S. K-12 context. Each case is discussed as either a bifurcation (divergence) or dichotomy (contradiction) of policy within the context of teacher preparation/practice. Further, each case’s impact on K-12 students’ potential access to participation in service-learning/community engagement initiatives is outlined. A cross-case analysis revealed that K12 service-learning/civic engagement policy exhibits a large degree of disparity within the quintain, which, as defined by Stake (2006), is the complexity across the bounds of multi-case-study research.


Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell ft Dana L. Bickmore (2015) Guest Editors' Introduction: The Promises of Charter Schools, Equity ft Excellence in Education, 48:1, 1-21, DOI:
10.1080/ 10665684.2015. 991161

As the guest editors of this issue of Equity & Excellence in Education, we intentionally included the language “The Promises of Charter Schools” from the original call for charter research, in this issue. The word “promise” can invoke visions of possibility and potential, of optimism and confidence. A promise can suggest hopefulness and is used to inspire confidence. Charter schools began as a concept that held the promise of social justice—more autonomy for teachers, more choice for families, more innovative teaching in terms of curriculum and instructional practice, and more equitable educational outcomes for students (Abowitz, 2001; Budde, 1988; Bulkley &Fisler, 2003). Charters have been viewed by some as a means to disrupt the historical institutional effects of racism and systematic neglect in public schooling for under-served parents and children by creating voice and space for transformational change. Unlike other educational reforms, the charter school concept had the promise of correcting inequitable outcomes by unsettling the underlying framework that generates the outcomes, rather than pursuing affirmative remedies that tinkered around the edges of substantive change (Abowitz, 2001). For readers of Equity & Excellence in Education, we pose the following question to frame this special issue: How is the promise of charter schooling, as a vehicle for social justice in public education, playing out? This question is timely and warranted, considering that currently over two million students attend more than 5,500 charter schools in the United States (National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, 2012) in a national political context that advocates for the continued, rapid expansion and, insome states and locales, proliferation, of charter schools (U.S. Department of Education, 2009).

By: Leah Katherine Saal & Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell 

Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 58(2) October 2014 doi 10 1002/Jaal.325 © 2014 International Reading Association (pp 135-145)
Young children who are learning to negotiate print experience emerging literacy. For adults who are beginning entrance into the navigation and negotiation of print literacy, the term “burgeoning” is selected as a more accurate portrayal of the nature of literacy extension into adulthood. This phenomenological case study investigates the lived experience of one adult reader as he transitioned into becoming print literate at middle age. Charles, the participant in this study, was able to teach about his experiences and give insights into the world of a novice adult reader to pre‐service secondary teachers enrolled in a disciplinary literacy course. An alternative data display of film seeks to mitigate disenfranchisement by allowing the participant to speak directly to his audiences. In examining the participant's lived experiences, a theoretical framework for the adult “burgeoning” reader was established.

By: Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell

Balanced Reading Instruction, Official Publication of the Balanced Reading Instruction Special Interest Group of the International Reading Association; Volume 18, Spring 2011

Helping pre-service teachers understand the efficacy of culturally sensitive classroom libraries can strengthen preparation for teaching literacy in urban schools. This ethnographically informed, time-sequenced case study describes how education candidates participated in a service­learning experience where they established classroom libraries in a charter school in post-Katrina New Orleans. Results indicate that students developed a deeper understanding about the importance of selecting appropriate books and creating rich and diverse classroom libraries, as well as an increasing awareness of the unique challenges of urban education.

When Malcolm X was interviewed by an English writer from Great Britain who asked what his alma mater was, he replied, "Books." (El-Shahbaz, 1964, p. 173)


By: Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell

Sulentic Dowell, Margaret-Mary. (2008). Academic Service Learning as Pedagogy: An Approach to Preparing Preservice Teachers for Urban Classrooms. Journal of Teaching and Learning. 5. 10.22329/jtl.v5i2.234.

Teacher education struggles with multifaceted and increasingly complex issues surrounding preparing majority (White) teachers to work effectively with minority (non-White) students, families and communities. Novice teachers entering the workforce need to be culturally responsive. What are the benefits to students, community, and university when academic service learning (AS-L) is a course component? How does AS-L impact the personal intellectual growth of preservice teachers? This phenomenological qualitative study examined dispositions of 177 preservice teachers engaged in literacy and multicultural education courses with AS-L components. A nesting design was selected for this study situating preservice teachers in the center, surrounded by university teacher education coursework, which in turn, is surrounded by a larger circle encompassing local K-12 public schools and the community at large, where all are located. Data were collected over the course of five consecutive semesters, using four different data sources, with written reflections the primary source. Ethnographic techniques of participant observation, informal and formal interviewing were also used to collect data. Artifacts and field notes resulting from observations and interview transcripts were considered when triangulating reflection data, comparing evidence from different sources and using multiple perceptions to clarify meaning. Using different data sources permitted examination of the same phenomena through different lens. Data were analyzed using open coding, an inductive content analysis, and the constant comparative method, both systematic yet dynamic approaches. Comparing different data sources allowed for the comparison of views, situations, actions, and experiences of different individuals. Data analysis led to four significant categories: displacement, transformation, acceptance, and moving from negative, judgmental attitudes to positive, non-judgmental attitudes. This investigation suggested that AS-L components improved and strengthened teacher education courses in terms of adequately preparing preservice teachers to teach successfully in urban environments. This study resulted in preservice teachers whose dispositions and appreciation of diversity and culturally responsive teaching increased.

By: Catherine M. Lemieux, Youn Kyoung Kim, Kimberly M. Brown, Cassandra D. Chaney, Ray V. Robertson & Erma J. Borskey

Measurement of U.S. American community members’ perceptions of police historically has failed to assess police bias, violence, and accountability in Black communities. Rooted in critical race theory, conflict theory, and a substantial corpus of self-reported survey research methodology, the present study describes the development of the Beliefs About Law Enforcement (BALE) scale. Guided by a multidisciplinary and multiracial panel, whose members possess the requisite substantive and methodological expertise, BALE scale items were constructed and factor analytic techniques were performed using a purposive sample of 288 MSW, BSW, and undergraduate child and family study students. Exploratory factor analysis was used to assess the factor structure of th eoriginal18-itemable scale(Model1). A subsequent confirmatory factor analysis yielded indexes indicating that the fit for the second order 15-item model was improved (Model 2) as compared to Model 1. The BALE scale achieved good internal consistency reliability (α=.87, composite reliability = .96). Limitations of the study are delineated and the utility of the BALE scale in developing and furthering knowledge in social work education and research is discussed.

By: Anne C. Deepak, Michele A. Rountree & Jennifer Scott (2015) Delivering Diversity and Social Justice in Social Work Education: The Power of Context, Journal of Progressive Human Services, 26:2, 107-125, DOI: 10.1080/10428232.2015.1017909

In this qualitative study, critical race theory is used as a theoretical lens to analyze the perceptions of BSW/MSW faculty, students, and staff regarding the factors that contribute to the effective delivery of diversity and social justice content through a required course at a large public university in the Southwest. The findings of this research shed light on the crucial role of the implicit curriculum and curricular infusion in supporting, and creating barriers to, the delivery of diversity and social justice content through a designated required course.


By: Jennifer Scott, Denise Danos, Robert Collins, Neal Simonsen, Claudia Leonardi, Richard Scribner, and Denise Herde (2020) Structural racism in the built environment: Segregation and the overconcentration of alcohol outlets in Health & Place, v64.

Structural racism, evidenced in practices like residential racial segregation, has been linked to health inequities. We examined the relationship between an adverse environmental factor (alcohol outlet overconcentration), segregated neighborhoods, and county alcohol policy in Louisiana and Alabama to investigate this link. Multilevel analysis revealed high outlet density associated with segregated counties and predominantly black census tracts in counties with restrictive alcohol policy. This inverse association between policies designed to limit alcohol availability and overconcentration of outlets in black neighborhoods warrants consideration by policymakers given links between outlet density and health inequities. Consideration of these findings in historical context suggests these policies may function as a contemporary actualization of the historical use of alcohol policy to subjugate black people in the South, now over-concentrating instead of prohibiting access.