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The following interview with Changemaker Dr. Lorrie Frasure-Yokley is the last of a two-part series.

LASS:     What do you study, and why do you study it?

LFY:        I fell in love with the study of politics. Of course, I never started that “good government job” [at the United States GAO] with the great benefits and the longevity. I decided to jump both feet into academia at the University of Maryland, College Park. In my third year at the University of Maryland, I presented my research [at the Midwest Political Science Association] on a panel with a Cornell University faculty member, Michael Jones-Correa [now at the University of Pennsylvania]. He noted that he would be in the D.C area for a fellowship year at the Woodrow Wilson Center, and he needed a research assistant.  I worked with him at the Woodrow Wilson Center my third year of graduate school, and together, we collected over 100 interviews of elites in suburban jurisdictions around Washington, D.C.

I knew there was a dissertation project in this research and data collection efforts. I left University of Maryland in the end of my third year, and began my fourth year at Cornell where I continued working with Jones-Correa on his Russell Sage Foundation project, and working on my dissertation. With the support of a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, I completed my dissertation in four and a half years.

LASS:     What did you do after you finished your doctorate?

LFY:        After finishing my PhD, I started a two-year Provost’s Academic Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship at Cornell University. After my post-doc, I started a tenure track job here at UCLA, arriving to campus in January 2008.  I became the first African American female and first woman of color in the history of the political science department to obtain a tenure track position. Then, in 2015, I became the first African-American woman, and the first woman of color in the history of the political science department to earn tenure and promotion.

LFY:        In 2015, my book Racial and Ethnic Politics in American Suburbs was published by Cambridge University Press. It incorporates interviews, focus groups, archival work, as well as demographic statistics. It is a study of suburbia and it’s changing demographics; why different groups move to particular areas, how they get along with their neighbors, and how they perceive the government to respond to their needs and concerns. The second half of the book examines local government responsiveness to new spatial location patterns through three case studies: day labor, language access, and education).

LASS:     Shifting gears a little bit, tell me a little bit about your current research. We had talked a little bit earlier about the research project, before this interview. What is it? And why do you do it, and what’s its impact?

“The CMPS is opening up an opportunity for a wider group of scholars to have access to high-quality data in the study of race and ethnicity with large samples of racial and ethnic groups.” – Dr. Lorrie Frasure-Yokley

LFY:        One of the projects that I’m working on is called the Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey (CMPS). In 2016, following the Presidential election, we fielded the first 100% user content driven, multiracial, multiethnic, multilingual, post-election survey of political attitudes and political behavior, but also it includes questions related to Black Lives Matter, immigration, healthcare, and a variety of other political and policy related topics. It’s the first cooperative survey with a specific focus on racial and ethnicity politics. We brought together a group of 86 contributors who purchased content on the Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey. These 86 contributors were across 55 Universities and colleges, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), smaller teaching colleges, as well as large R1s, and Ivy Leagues. It is such a great group of scholars, from over 15 different disciplines participated in developing the survey instrument by purchasing content across samples of Blacks, Latinos, Asians, and Whites.

One of the unique characteristics of the survey is not just a high-quality national dataset with large samples across race and ethnicity, including over 10,000 respondents. But, this survey is a cooperative in the true sense of the word, meaning that for scholars, whether they purchased one minute of content, or seven minutes of content, everyone who purchased onto the survey received all of the data, 10,000 cases, 394 questions. Everybody shares all of the content, which is embargoed to the group until 2021. However, all 86 scholars can coauthor with whomever they like– both within and outside of the cooperative, so long as the CMPS contributor is a co-author on the publication or research project. We see this as a way to further grow our academic pipeline and create access and research opportunities, particularly for graduate students, post-docs and junior faculty.

The CMPS is opening up an opportunity for a wider group of scholars to have access to high-quality data in the study of race and ethnicity with large samples of racial and ethnic groups.  The cooperative changes the way social science data is collected, and it creates a broader space that’s more inclusive for a larger group of researchers to have access to high quality data for racial and ethnic groups and to grow their research projects.

LASS:     What is the impact that you are aiming for?

LFY:        One of the takeaways from the CMPS is to have a better understanding of the need for large samples of racial and ethnic groups. At the most basic level, we need to push the social sciences, to gather large samples beyond white respondents. In order to answer some of the most pressing problems of our day, a sample of 200 blacks or 200 Latinos won’t allow you to examine the data in meaningful ways to better understand the role of class, gender, sexuality, geography and so on.

Also providing both the Call for Participation and the Survey Instrument in the language of the respondent’s choice is a mode of inclusiveness and may be important towards capturing a broader group of respondents.

National Map of 2016 CMPS Respondents by Race and Ethnicity (http://cmpsurvey.org/infographics/cmps_1/)

LASS:     What are some of the solutions to challenges that your work addresses?

LFY:        What I hope to do through the Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey is to create a space for data collection and research that is inclusive of a broader group of scholars who are interested in examining some of the most pressing problems in modern politics.

Our goal is to open up the space for innovation, open up space for the growth of knowledge, and we can only do that when we decide to step outside the boundaries of social science, and say, “What do we need? How can we address pressing problems in our disciplines? Participating in innovative kinds of data collection efforts can helps us publish and grow our research agendas, but those opportunities are often cut off to some scholars, simply because they cannot afford to collect high quality data to answer their research questions.

The CMPS is as an opportunity to advance our social science disciplines, and to create a more inclusive and diverse research space. There’s definitely a market for this kind of research. The problem is, we do need large samples of racial and ethnic groups to be able to tell informative and generalizable stories that impact our communities. Through the collective nature of the CMPS, we are incorporating a larger group of voices to tell those stories, and I think that’s a win-win situation.

LASS:     That’s great. Thank you for sharing your story, expertise, and experience with LA Social Science.

To read Part 1, click HERE.

Dr. Lorrie Frasure-Yokley was interviewed by Mike Nguyen, an assistant editor and contributor to LA Social Science.

Although the academic year is winding down, Dr. Lorrie Frasure-Yokley, Associate Professor of Political Science at UCLA,[1] is only getting started. In addition to her own teaching, research, and initiatives for first generation students, she is also organizing the upcoming Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey (CMPS) Summer Research Conference at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs on August 8-10, 2018. We caught up with Dr. Frasure-Yokley, in a two-part series, to learn a bit more about her passion for research and educating the next generation of policy makers and researchers.

Part 1

LASS:     Where are you from and where did you go to school?

LFY:        I grew up on Chicago’s south side where I attended Chicago Public Schools, K through 12. I went to the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign for undergrad, and then onto the University of Chicago for a Masters in Public Policy. During my MPP program, I got an internship at the General Accounting Office, now, the Government Accountability Office in Washington, DC, and I was offered a full-time job after graduation, but I knew that my heart really was in academia. I wanted to examine politics and policy, but I wanted to have greater autonomy? I decided to continue on and apply for PhD programs, but I’m also pragmatic, so I decided to apply in the Washington, D.C area just in case I didn’t really like the PhD program. I actually deferred my job. I deferred my position in Washington, D.C, and I started at the University of Maryland, College Park for a PhD in Political Science.

“…Every week [holds] new discoveries, because we’re challenging one another to think about race, ethnicity, and gender beyond the dummy variable.” – Dr. Frasure-Yokley

LASS:     Tell me about teaching. What classes are you teaching right now, and why did you decide to teach those classes?

LFY:        Sure. I am teaching an undergraduate course called Introduction to Race, Ethnicity and Politics [REP], and we trace, in the first half of the course, the socioeconomic, political, and cultural road of various racial ethnic groups, blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, whites, Asians in the country, and we look at their development in the US until the post civil rights movement, so 1965, 1970. Then, we use the lens of their historical and cultural and economic and social trajectory as a lens through which to examine various policy issues, voting rights, political behavior, public opinion, other kinds of political issues of our time.

It’s a small course, which I value in this department to be able to teach a small course and I always get to have greater interaction with students than I do in my larger courses.

Then, I’m teaching a graduate course. It is a rewarding experience to bring the intersections of not just race and ethnicity, but race, ethnicity and gender to the study of political behavior, public opinion, and ideology, these kinds of other factors that we care about in political science…the lens of the course is intersectionality. We look at all of the readings through the lens of the role of disparities and oppression of particular kinds of marginalized groups, but the intersections of race, gender, class, sexuality, ethnicity, national origin, immigration status.

LFY:        It’s my first time teaching this course, and it is a packed house. I have 17 wonderful graduate students. It’s a very large course.

LASS:     That’s a big class for the graduate level.

LFY:        It’s huge, but every week [holds] new discoveries, because we’re challenging one another to think about race, ethnicity, and gender beyond the dummy variable. Today’s course, we read two books on white womanhood and conservative politics. Mothers of Massive Resistance is one new book that challenges our notions of whiteness and white womanhood and the role that white women played in shaping the conservative right movement. It’s just a spirited class. It’s a great class. It’s a lot of work, because it’s challenging our paradigms. It’s challenging white women as the reference category. What does that mean? What do we lose by not truly theorizing about white womanhood? We fought so long in REP to have a space to theorize about black women and Latinas and Asian-American women. What have we lost by failing to theorize about white women, for example, and the intersections of class and race and place and geography for white women.

Now, I also teach the Politics of American Suburbanization, which is like an urban politics course, but I incorporate various modes of geography, instead of just thinking about the role of the nation state, and the role it played on why our geographic space looks the way it does, and why it’s stratified in the US the way it is between city and suburb, and rural areas.

LASS:     Tell me this, then. Of all the classes that you can teach, why specifically the topics that you decided to teach on. Why is that important?

LFY:        When I was in graduate school, there was not a formal space for the study of race ethnicity in politics. The field is relatively new. The majority of scholars who study race, ethnicity in politics may have opted for the field of American politics, which is a more traditional field in political science. Although we do have REP scholars who are in comparative politics or political theory, and so forth, but the majority of them are in American politics.

How do we create theories and methodologies that fit well… in terms of really positioning the role of race and ethnicity, and what that means for modern politics? It’s not a one-size fit all when you examine various racial ethnic groups. We have a race ethnicity and immigration (REI) lab where students can workshop their work at any stage of the process. We’ve been working so hard over the last 11, 12 years to create a dynamic and inclusive space for the study of race, ethnicity and politics at UCLA. Our students are thriving. We had numerous students on the job market this year, and all of our students, whose primary field is REP have been placed in both post-docs and tenure track jobs this year. Our students are getting external funding, research grants, publishing widely, and securing top jobs all around the country. We have a lot to celebrate.

Continue to Part 2.

Dr. Lorrie Frasure-Yokley was interviewed by Mike Nguyen, an assistant editor and contributor to LA Social Science.

[1] She will soon have a courtesy joint appointment in African American Studies.

The Hollywood Diversity Report 2018 is the fifth in a series of annual reports that examines the relationship between diversity and the bottom line in the Hollywood entertainment industry. It considers the top 200 theatrical film releases in 2016 and 1,251 broadcast, cable and digital platform television shows from the 2015-16 season in order to document the degree to which women and people of color are present in front of and behind the camera. It discusses any patterns between these findings and box office receipts and audience ratings.

Consistent with the findings of earlier reports in this series, new evidence from 2015-16 suggests that America’s increasingly diverse audiences prefer diverse film and television content.

  • Films with casts that were from 21 percent to 30 percent minority enjoyed the highest median global box office receipts and the highest median return on investment, while films with the most racially and ethnically homogenous casts were the poorest performers

  • Minorities accounted for the majority of ticket sales for five of the top 10 films in 2016 (ranked by global box office)

  • Films with casts that were from 21 percent to 30 percent minority were released, on average, in the most international markets in 2016
  • Films with Black and Latino leads and majority-minority casts were released, on average, in the fewest international markets in 2016
  • Median 18-49 viewer ratings (as well as median household ratings among Blacks, Latinos, and Asian Americans) peaked during the 2015-16 season for broadcast scripted shows featuring casts that were greater than 20 percent minority

  • For White households, ratings peaked during the 2015-16 season for broadcast scripted shows with casts greater than 40 percent minority
  • Social media engagement during the 2015-16 season peaked for broadcast scripted shows with casts that reflected the diversity of America
  • Median Black household ratings peaked for cable scripted shows with casts that were majority minority in 2015-16

  • For viewers 18-49, White, Latino, and Asian households, median ratings peaked in the cable scripted arena for shows with casts that were from 31 to 40 percent minority in 2015-16
  • Social media engagement peaked for cable scripted shows with casts that were at least 31 percent minority in 2015-16
  • The majority of the top 10 broadcast scripted shows among viewers 18-49 and Asian, Black, and Latino households, as well as half of the top 10 shows among White households, featured casts that were at least 21 percent minority in 2015-16

  • The lion’s share of the top 10 cable scripted shows among Asian, Black, and Latino households, as well as half of the top 10 shows among White households and viewers 18-49, featured casts that were at least 21 percent minority in 2015-16

Previous releases in the Hollywood Diversity Report series present evidence supporting the idea that diversity sells when it comes to industry-produced films and television shows. People of color constituted nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population in 2016, and their share is growing by nearly half a percent each year. Increasingly diverse audiences, the evidence shows, prefer film and television content populated with characters to whom they can relate and whose stories drive the narrative. Europe accounted for only about 7 percent of the world’s population[1] and 17 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP)[2] in 2016, which underscores the reality that today’s (and tomorrow’s) global market looks much more like the diversity of America than the White audiences that traditionally drove Hollywood’s greenlighting practices. In short, the previous reports in this series dispel a stubborn Hollywood myth that in order to reach the widest audiences possible, films and television shows must center White characters in their narratives and relegate racial and ethnic others to, at best, supporting roles.

This report adds to the growing body of evidence that diversity is essential for Hollywood’s bottom line. Global box office and television ratings, on average, are highest for films and television shows with relatively diverse casts. Indeed, a consideration of top 10 films and television shows underscores how important diverse audiences have become as drivers of box office and ratings, and that these highly engaged audiences prefer diverse content. But the report’s findings also reveal missed opportunities. For example, we see that Hollywood continues to produce a plurality of films and television shows with casts that are 10 percent minority or less, despite the fact that these projects are collectively among the poorest performers. It also appears as if the industry undersells the relatively small number of films with diverse leads and casts in a global market that is primed to connect with them.

 

This post contains excerpts from the Hollywood Diversity Report 2018 that was released on February 27, 2018.  To read the latest report, download it HERE.

To read the previous four annual reports, click HERE.

This research is led by Dr. Darnell Hunt, Dean of Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at UCLA.

If you are interested in learning more about the Hollywood Diversity Report research, please contact the Director of Research and Civic Engagement for the Division of Social Sciences, Dr. Ana-Christina Ramón, at acramon@ss.ucla.edu.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of the report or donating to this research, please contact the Executive Director of Development for the Division of Social Sciences, Julie Strumwasser at jstrumwasser@support.ucla.edu.

[1] See: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/The_EU_in_the_world_-_population

[2] See: http://www.economywatch.com/economic-statistics/economic-indicators/GDP_Share_of_World_Total_PPP/