My research integrates the sociology of organizations, race, and religion, as well as group processes, to interrogate how diversity processes and policies affect racial inequality. My research has appeared or is forthcoming in American Sociological Review, Sociology of Religion, and an edited volume; and it is under review at American Sociological Review and Sociology of Race & Ethnicity.
My dissertation, The Costs of Diversity: How Employees of Color Experience Diversity Policies, is funded by the Louisville Institute and the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. In it, I investigate organizational diversity policies and discourses, then extend their effects down to the people who are the object of them. Organizations that embrace racial diversity receive various benefits, including increased market value and legitimacy. The benefits of diversity, however, are not distributed equally. Because many advantages from diversity derive more from deploying symbols than creating effective programs, the benefits of diversity can be focused on the institutions rather than the people inhabiting them. When organizations garner the benefits of diversity via outward displays, there can be insufficient attention paid to the organizational experiences of people of color. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with employees of color across corporations, universities, and multiracial churches, I specifically analyze, “How do employees of color experience their employers’ diversity policies and discourses, and in what ways do these experiences affect racial inequality.” I find that diversity programs lead organizations to commodify the presence of employees of color. As a result, activities around diversity become constitutive of experiences of marginalization rather than ameliorative. This study contributes to an emerging focus on the intersection between organizational and race theory by revealing hidden causes of stratification.