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July 28, 2009


Obama, Gates & Crowley: Where Do We Go From Here?

Sociological experts available for comment

As President Obama sits down with Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cambridge Police Sergeant James Crowley on Thursday to discuss over beers the recent scandal, sociologists Donald Tomaskovic-Devey and Patricia Warren assert that racially biased policing should be on the agenda.

Tomaskovic-Devey and Warren, both sociologists with expertise in discrimination and racial profiling, write in a recent Contexts magazine article on the topic (

“[If the Obama Administration decides to take a national leadership role in ending racial profiling,] as sociologists we hope the administration won’t make the all too common mistake of assuming racial profiling is primarily the result of racial prejudice or even the more widespread psychology of unconscious bias.”

Tomaskovic-Devey and Warren are available to discuss the causes and consequences of racial profiling as well as the policies, procedures and community involvement that sociological research shows are effective in reducing acts of racial discrimination and problematic policing practices at the organizational level. They argue that racial profiling is more often the result of organizational practices than individual prejudices or racist attitudes.

For interviews, contact:

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, professor and chair, Department of Sociology, University of Massachusetts-Amherst: 413-658-8491 (cell),

Patricia Warren, assistant professor, College of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Florida State University: 850-644-5587 (office),

Read “Explaining and Eliminating Racial Profiling” in the spring 2009 issue of Contexts, a magazine published by the American Sociological Association to provide the lay public with an accessible and thought-provoking look at modern life through the lens of the research and expertise of prominent U.S. sociologists.

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