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Department of Sociology Statement on Racism and Support of Black Lives Matter

We in the Department of Sociology at the University of Kentucky stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and all social movements to combat racial injustice in law enforcement and society. From the groundbreaking work of the great Black founder of American Sociology, W.E.B. Du Bois, sociologists have been committed to revealing and eradicating racism in all its forms. We know that racism is not some rare personality flaw, but a deeply entrenched feature of our social institutions and personal lives. Sociological research has uncovered systematic racial inequality in education (Noguera et al., 2016), health (Clark et al., 1999) and health care (Boulware, et al., 2016), employment (Quillian, et al., 2017), as well as criminal justice (Davis, 2017).  

These facts are not opinion. They are based on documented scientific evidence, some of which has been collected by our own faculty and graduate students (see examples below). We refuse to sit by and watch as the names of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Tony McDade, David McAtee, and others who were senselessly killed by police officers or police-supported vigilantes become conveniently washed away in another news cycle, only for another round of racially motivated killings to continue. Such killings are not isolated incidents; they are the result of a history of state-sanctioned surveillance and control of Black bodies. We demand that our leaders not only pursue justice in these most recent cases, but also pledge meaningful, lasting, and radical reform in the criminal justice system and policing. We realize that such problems are complex and reach beyond criminal justice into areas such as education, employment, and health. The cruel history of white supremacy cannot be undone with one sensitivity training or one guilty verdict. But this complexity must serve as a challenge and not an excuse. We are committed in our research, our teaching, and our activism to vociferously support Black people and other people of color, to expose white privilege and implicit bias, and to demand action toward dismantling systemic racism. We also commit to an unwavering, constant challenge of our own privilege and biases, and we encourage our colleagues, students, family, and friends to do the same. We realize that such biases and systemic issues will not magically evaporate, but we are determined to face the uncomfortable, yet necessary work of openly addressing them. As sociologists, the commitment to racial equality is not merely something we do, it is something we are.

Please look below for a selection of our department’s research on racial inequality. Please also visit our partners at the University of Kentucky African American and Africana Studies Program, the Center for Equality and Social Justice, and the College of Arts & Sciences for more resources.

In solidarity and in hope,
Faculty and Graduate Students, Department of Sociology         


Boulware, I. E., Cooper, L. A., Ratner, L. E., LaVeist, T. A., & Powe, N. R. (2003). Race and trust in the health care system. Public Health Reports, 118, 358-365.

Clark, R., Anderson, N. B., Clark, V. R., & Williams, D. R. (1999). Racism as a stressor for African Americans: A biopsychosocial model. American Psychologist, 54(10), 805-816.

Davis, A. J., ed. (2017). Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution, and Imprisonment. 1st Edition edition. New York: Pantheon.

Noguera, P., Pierce, J., and Ahram, R. (eds.) (2016). Race, Equity and Education: The Pursuit of Equality in Education 60 Years After Brown. New York: Springer.

Quillian, L., Pager, D., Hexel, O., & Midtbøen, A. H. (2017). Meta-analysis of field experiments shows no change in racial discrimination in hiring over time. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(41), 10870-10875.

Research from our department

Brown, Robyn L., Kathleen Rospenda, Myles D. Moody, and Judith A. Richman. (2019). Alcohol-Related Effects of Post-9/11 Discrimination in the Context of the Great Recession: Race/Ethnic Variation. Addictive Behaviors, 93:154-157.

Chrystal Grey and Thomas Janoski. 2017. Strategies for Success among African-Americans and Afro-
Caribbeans: Overachieve, Be Cheerful, or Confront.
Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Hua, C., Bardo, A. R., & Brown, J. S. (2018). Mistrust in physicians does not explain black-white disparities in primary care and emergency department utilization: The importance of socialization during the Jim Crow era. Journal of the National Medical Association, 110(6), 540-546.

Liberato, Ana S.Q.  and Yanick St. Jean. (2017). Systemic Racism Theory and Anti-Haitian Racism: Theoretical Challenges and Opportunities In Ruth Thompson and Kimberley Ducey (eds.), Systemic Racism: Making Liberty, Justice, and Democracy Real (p 309-332), Palgrave MacMillan.

Love, Tony P. and Edward W. Morris. (2019). Opportunities Diverted: Intake Diversion and Institutionalized Racial Disadvantage in the Juvenile Justice System. Race and Social Problems 11: 33–44.

Moody, Myles. (2016). From Under-Diagnosis to Over-Representation: ADHD, Black Children, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline. Journal of African-American Studies, 20(2): 152-163.

Morris, Edward W. and Brea L. Perry. (2017). Girls Behaving Badly? Race, Gender, and Subjective Evaluation in the Discipline of African American Girls. Sociology of Education 90: 127-148.

Morris, Edward W. and Brea L. Perry. (2016). The Punishment Gap: School Suspension and Racial Disparities in Achievement. Social Problems 63: 68–86.

Oser, C., Bunting, A., Pullen, E., & Stevens-Watkins, D.  (2016).  African American female offender’s use of alternative and traditional health services after re-entry: Examining the behavioral model for vulnerable populations. Journal of Healthcare for the Poor and Underserved, 27, 120-148.

Zonio, Henry. (2020). Normalizing White Spirituality in Children’s Sunday School Curricula. In Bridging Theory and Practice in Children’s Spirituality, edited by Mimi Larson and Robert Keeley. Nashville, TN: Zondervan Academic Publishing.