I love podcasts!  I typically take the bus to work and I find myself listening to a variety of podcasts.  Right now, my favorite podcast is probably Code Switch, a National Public Radio program featuring racially diverse journalists (African-American and Latina) discussing issues of race, current events, and culture.  It's interesting, well done, and, hey, I can just relate to much of what is being said.  

So, I was ecstatic to hear the program "What does objectivity mean to journalists of color?"  because Del Smith (Rochester Institute of Technology) and I wrote an article in 2011 about professional identity construction and black journalists.  We proposed journalists of color question occupational rhetorics that are used to signal occupational meaning to others  (such as journalistic objectivity).  We found the black journalists we studied redefined the "objectivity" rhetoric by imbuing it with new meaning.  These new meanings caused them to conduct their careers in ways that were different than their white counterparts.  As I listened to CodeSwitch, I heard the journalist "speaking our propositions into existence" (to take a little bit of metaphysical/church lingo).  It was awesome!

Our original interest in the research probably stemmed from our own need to think about how folks who endure stigma (like blacks) decide how they want to behave professionally because we were thinking about it, too!  What does it mean to be a black professor?  Black social scientist?   Our study includes other propositions regarding how black journalists redefined stigma and black identity.  We can continue that conversation but here's a link to the article so you can think about it, too!

In the meantime, maybe these three questions would create interesting (and hopefully constructive) conversations on the subject:

  1. How does stigma influence how you conduct yourself professionally?
  2. What are the rhetorics for your profession or occupation?  Have you redefined them in any way because of who you are (race, gender, etc.)?  What changes did you make?
  3. What do you think is missing from our knowledge about the relationship between race, gender, or stigmatized identity and professional identity and behavior?

Hope to have good discussions with you regarding the research!


AuthorHolly Ferraro