Positive and Negative Predictors of Educational Attainment
In addition to my dissertation, other recent work analyzes the positive and negative predictors of educational attainment, especially considering racial/ethnic and income inequality.
One study (forthcoming, Sociological Perspectives) explores racial differences in positive college-going behaviors. According to the influential “oppositional culture” account, we should expect black students as a group to be less likely to engage in school than their white counterparts because they are more likely to believe and act in opposition to academics. In contrast to this prediction, qualitative and quantitative researchers have almost uniformly deduced that black students hold similar or higher educational values, attitudes, and expectations as compared to whites. I pull from the rich literature on racial differences in educational attitudes and expectations to posit that instead of black students shirking education, black students are actually more likely to act in favor of education, and that this might help explain their higher net rates of college attendance as indicated in prior research. Using the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS), I find that black students’ higher rates of engagement in college-going behaviors mediate the relationship between race and college attendance so that race is no longer a significant predictor of attendance.
Another paper I am writing with a colleague (under review) uses propensity score matching and sibling fixed-effects models to determine how detrimental suspension and expulsion are for students, especially black students who are overrepresented in these exclusionary discipline actions. These actions serve as triggering events in the life course that increase the probability of negative events such as high school dropout, divergence to a GED, and engagement in criminal conviction.
Racial and Ethnic Self-Identification of Multiracial Individuals
Additional research I am conducting is situated on racial and ethnic self-identification of multiracial individuals.
In the first paper (forthcoming, Emerging Adulthood), I use qualitative and quantitative survey data I collected from Hispanic and Asian college students to explore the complexities of racial and ethnic self- and group-identification in emerging adults. With this data, I argue that racial formation is at the intersection of two processes – identity and belonging. Emerging adults’ appearance as well as experiences with in-group and out-group family, friends, and others influences both racial/ethnic self-identification, and racial/ethnic group belonging. When allowed to differentiate between the race that one most identifies with and the racial group one most feels a part of, respondents’ choices do not always align along a single racial or ethnic identity spectrum. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is particularly true for multiracial/ethnic individuals who are connected to two or more racial or ethnic groups through blood or adoption. However, these results are not limited to multiracial/ethnic individuals, highlighting how racial and ethnic identification is complex even for those with only one racial or ethnic heritage
In the second paper with a colleague, we look at the perceptions of racial identification of those with multiracial/ethnic backgrounds. This study explores the complex multidimensionality of racial and ethnic identity, especially among multiracial individuals.