Changing Times for Black Professionals

Changing Times for Black Professionals

Changing Times for Black Professionals

Changing Times for Black Professionals


This book is a study of the challenges, issues, and obstacles facing black professional workers in the United States. Though they have always been a part of the U.S. labor force, black professionals have often been overlooked in media, research, and public opinion. Ironically, however, their experiences offer a particularly effective way to understand how race shapes social life, opportunities, and upward mobility. As the 21stcentury continues to usher in increasing demographic, social, and economic change to the United States, it is critical to consider the impact this will have on an important sector of the labor force. In this book, I examine the reasons why sociological study of black professional workers is important and valuable, review the literature that examines their experiences in the workplace, and consider the issues and challenges they are likely to face in a rapidly shifting social world.

The goal of this new, unique Series is to offer readable, teachable "thinking frames" on today's social problems and social issues by leading scholars, all in short 60 page or shorter formats, and available for view on

For instructors teaching a wide range of courses in the social sciences, the Routledge Social Issues Collectionnow offers the best of both worlds: originally written short texts that provide "overviews" to important social issues as well as teachable excerpts from larger works previously published by Routledge and other presses.


The world in the early 21st century is beset with problems—a troubled economy, global warming, oil spills, religious and national conflict, poverty, hiv, health problems associated with sedentary lifestyles. Virtually no nation is exempt, and everyone, even in affluent countries, feels the impact of these global issues.

Since its inception in the 19th century, sociology has been the academic discipline dedicated to analyzing social problems. It is still so today. Sociologists offer not only diagnoses; they glimpse solutions, which they then offer to policy makers and citizens who work for a better world. Sociology played a major role in the civil rights movement during the 1960s in helping us to understand racial inequalities and prejudice, and it can play a major role today as we grapple with old and new issues.

This series builds on the giants of sociology, such as Weber, Durkheim, Marx, Parsons, Mills. It uses their frames, and newer ones, to focus on particular issues of contemporary concern. These books are about the nuts and bolts of social problems, but they are equally about the frames through which we analyze these problems. It is clear by now that there is no single correct way to view the world, but only paradigms, models, which function as lenses through which we peer. For example, in analyzing oil spills and environmental pollution, we can use a frame that views such outcomes as unfortunate results of a reasonable effort to harvest fossil fuels. “Drill, baby, drill” sometimes involves certain costs as pipelines rupture and oil spews forth. Or we could analyze these environmental crises as inevitable outcomes of our effort to dominate nature in the interest of profit. the first frame would solve oil spills with better environmental protection measures and clean-ups, while the second frame would attempt to prevent them altogether, perhaps shifting away from the use of petroleum and natural gas and toward alternative energies that are “green.”

These books introduce various frames such as these for viewing social problems. They also highlight debates between social scientists who frame problems differently. the books suggest solutions, both on the macro and micro levels. That is, they suggest what new policies might entail, and they also identify ways in which people, from the ground level, can work toward a better world, changing themselves and their lives and families and providing models of change for others.

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