If you only looked at media portrayals (and a great deal of sociological research), you might write off black men as mostly trapped by an educational system that too often fails them, labor market that under-employs them, and criminal justice system that over-incarcerates them. You might conclude that there are a few black men who happen to beat these social structures and become highly visible role models who advocate for adopting appropriate values as a way of achieving social and personal success. Overall, however, it would be easy to conclude that most black men fall somewhere in these two camps.
My research challenges this generalization. Realizing that black men who work in professional jobs are virtually absent from much sociological research, I conducted a study of the ways that race, gender, and class shape their work experiences to get a sense of how we can learn more about the sociological processes that impact various aspects of their occupational trajectories. The findings are reported in my new book, No More Invisible Man: Race and Gender in Men’s Work.