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.
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.
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.