Mitchell-Walthour's research focuses on Afro-Brazilian political behavior, racial attitudes, discrimination, affirmative action, Bolsa Familia (a social welfare program), and Afro-Brazilian women, and intersectionality. Mitchell-Walthour is the Vice-President of the Brazil Studies Association.
Uses an intersectional approach to analyze the impact of the experience of race on Afro-Brazilian political behavior in the cities of Salvador, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro. Seeks to explain Afro-Brazilian political behavior with a focus on affirmative action policy and Law 10.639 (which requires that African and Afro-Brazilian history be taught in schools).
Finds that Afro-Brazilians who have experienced racial discrimination are more likely to believe they are now doing well economically compared to those who have not experienced racial discrimination.
Examines Afro-Brazilian researchers' transnational experiences in the United States and African descendant U.S. scholars' experiences in Brazil.
Examines race as both a dependent and independent variable in research on race in Brazil and the implications of endogeneity on studies of race in the United States.