Economics professor Dania Francis researches topics such as racial and socio-economic disparities and student achievement gaps. But she recalls a moment during her graduate studies when a professor discouraged her from pursuing those interests.
“Don’t be the black person that studies black issues,” Ms. Francis recalled the person saying. “Study something legitimate first, so that people can understand you’re a legitimate scholar and then go on to do [race-related research] once you’ve made a name for yourself.”
For Ms. Francis, the advice represented one of the many challenges the economics field has with race issues, from a lack of minorities entering the profession to the career hurdles they face to how it approaches race-related topics.