Sex Roles

, Volume 59, Issue 5–6, pp 350–364 | Cite as

“Don’t Ever Forget Now, You’re a Black Man in America”: Intersections of Race, Class and Gender In Encounters with the Police

Original Article


Middle-aged black and white graduates of a Midwestern US high school responded to interview questions about race and racial identity. Their answers included descriptions of police harassment and crime, and focused on those considered to be criminal actors: most often apparently poor, black men. Qualitative analysis of 38 interviews showed that questions about racial identity tapped into a discourse that constructs and stereotypes criminals as occupying social positions defined by race, class and gender, particularly for African Americans. The concept of intersectionality illuminates the cultural construction of police encounters with citizens in terms of poor black men, and the specific nature of the stories of racial identity told—and not told—by respondents with different race, class and gender identities.


Intersectionality Race and gender Masculinity Identity construction Social class 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Program in Women’s StudiesUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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