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Dr. Rashawn Ray, a David M. Rubenstein Fellow in Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution, is Professor of Sociology and Executive Director of the Lab for Applied Social Science Research (LASSR) at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is also one of the co-editors of Contexts Magazine: Sociology for the Public. Formerly, Ray was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley.

Ray’s research addresses the mechanisms that manufacture and maintain racial and social inequality with a particular focus on police-civilian relations and men’s treatment of women. His work also speaks to ways that inequality may be attenuated through racial uplift activism and social policy. Ray has published over 50 books, articles, and book chapters, and nearly 20 op-eds. 


Dr. Ray research has been cited by the Washington Post, Associated Press, Reuters, CNN, ESPN, Vox, The Root, and The Chronicle. Previously, Ray served on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington Planning Committee and the Commission on Racial Justice with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

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Given his expertise, it comes as little surprise that current events have made University of Maryland sociologist Rashawn Ray a media and policy star. He specializes in studying why both police and disease are more likely to treat African Americans more harshly than whites.

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Brookings fellow Rashawn Ray: 'Bad apples come from rotten trees'

Rashawn Ray, a David Rubenstein Fellow at the Brookings Institution, tells Andrea Mitchell that "the legacy of law enforcement in the United States comes from structural racism" and he calls for reforms like forcing police to take responsibility for civilian payouts for misconduct settlement, ensuring that officers who are terminated for police misconduct can never work in law enforcement again, and collecting better data on use of force.

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Sociologist On How Black Men Try To Appear Non-Threatening As A Defense Mechanism

As the country mourns Ahmaud Arbery's death, NPR's Ari Shapiro speaks with University of Maryland sociology professor Rashawn Ray about why men of color disarm themselves as a defense mechanism.

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