Smith tends to ask research questions that blur disciplinary lines; many of the questions she poses can only be answered by considering bodies of literature, theoretical frameworks, and methodological strategies found in Sociology, Political Science, Psychology and Public Policy. Her research interests focuses on American political behavior and Racial and Ethnic Politics. Here, she focuses on individuals’ and groups’ policy preferences, particularly around social policies that exacerbate or ameliorate disparities and inequality between groups. Smith also has courtesy appointments in the Department of African, African American & Diaspora Studies and Department of Political Science.
Examines the role of context on the mobilization of politicized racial group consciousness among African Americans and Black immigrants.
Argues that even though we see a greater appreciation for the presence of nonwhite bodies in various spaces, we are not likely to see real systemic change in the American racial hierarchy because of a reliance on diversity ideology. Through an analysis of semistructured interviews with 43 white Millennials, this article outlines the ways in which diversity ideology’s four tenets—diversity as acceptance, commodity, intent, and liability—help whites maintain power in multiracial spaces.
Suggests that it is becoming increasingly important to examine the centrality of other identities in Black political behavior as the ethnic diversity among Blacks increases with large influxes of African, Afro-Latino, and Afro-Caribbean immigrants.
Provides a glimpse at the context in which racial intergroup relations will be developed in three southern locations that represent three distinct southern environments: majority black (Memphis, Tennessee), more or less equal black and white populations (Durham, North Carolina), and minority black (Little Rock, Arkansas).
Explores the effects of dynamic demographic change on Black politics.