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Making visible the experiences of black professional men in white male-dominated occupations

No More Invisible Man

Race and Gender in Men's Work

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Adia Harvey Wingfield

Distinguished Book Award from the American Sociological Association's (ASA) section on Race, Gender and Class, 2014

Richard A. Lester Prize from the Industrial Relations Section at Princeton University, 2014

"Conducting in-depth interviews with black lawyers, engineers, doctors, and bankers, [Wingfield] studies their challenges, obstacles, opportunities, and interactions with colleagues. As expected, the subjects experienced racism, discrimination, and stereotyping at work. . . . Though their upward mobility gave them solidarity with men in their social group, they no longer had an affinity with working-class blacks. This solid academic study enhances our understanding of the difficulties professional black men face in the work place."
Publishers Weekly

The "invisible men" of sociologist Adia Harvey Wingfield's urgent and timely No More Invisible Man are African American professionals who fall between extremely high status, high-profile black men and the urban underclass. Her compelling interview study considers middle-class, professional black men and the challenges, obstacles, and opportunities they encounter in white male-dominated occupations.

No More Invisible Man chronicles these men's experiences as a tokenized minority in the workplace to show how issues of power and inequality exist—especially as they relate to promotion, mobility, and developing occupational networks. Wingfield's intersectional analysis deftly charts the ways that gender, race, and class collectively shape black professional men's work experiences.

In its examination of men's interactions with women and other men, as well as men's performances of masculinity and their emotional demeanors in these jobs, No More Invisible Man extends our understanding of racial- and gender-based dynamics in professional work.

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Excerpt

Read the Introduction (pdf).

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Reviews

"Adia Harvey Wingfield has long been a fighter for true equality, and this book is a wonderful addition to the work of a great career. No More Invisible Man goes into depth about how to make the country not just stronger but also more inclusive."
Wes Moore, best-selling author of The Other Wes Moore

"Adia Harvey Wingfield accomplished something in No More Invisible Man that no other book I’ve read has even attempted. She explains and illuminates the professional hell that I—and countless other working black men—endure in white-dominated workplaces. Anyone—especially black men, who wear a workplace mask as part of our occupational uniform—desiring a deeper understanding of the impact that being an on-the-job minority plays in our psyche and identity must read this book. As grateful as I am to discover now her ‘partial tokenism’ theory as an explanation for what I’ve unknowingly experienced throughout my career, I wish I’d learned and absorbed its lessons many years earlier."
Sam Fulwood III, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

"For those who delve into Wingfield's book, the one thing they are guaranteed to come away with is a greater appreciation for the fact that for Black men who work professional jobs, the work involves so much more than just the work itself.... [No More Invisible Man] shows how entrenched and lingering racial stereotypes about the intelligence and aims of Black men often make the professional jobs they work much more complicated than they would otherwise be."
Diverse

"What is unique about this book is the fact that very few studies focus on the issue of the black professional male across varied white-dominated professional spaces. Wingfield offers insight into the nuances involved in black male experiences at the professional level. Briefly, this study encapsulates how tricky it is to navigate the corridors of professional settings when confronted with age-old stereotypes. Summing Up: Recommended."
CHOICE

"Wingfield’s adeptness at relating each aspect of her findings to the wider scholarship on tokenism is one of this book’s main strengths.... [T]his is a revealing and thought-provoking study.... [that] provides some new insights into this somewhat neglected topic."
Ethnic and Racial Studies

"No More Invisible Man is an engaging and compelling book. Through interviews with forty-two doctors, lawyers, engineers, and bankers, Adia Harvey Wingfield illuminates the experiences of black male professionals and makes critical contributions to our understandings of inequalities in the workplace.... One of Harvey Wingfield’s strongest theoretical contributions is her documentation of the significance of black professional men’s relationships with colleagues and potential mentors.... Another significant theoretical contribution is Harvey Wingfield’s description of the diversity of black professional men’s responses to women in their male-dominated workplaces.... [T]he book is superb. Harvey Wingfield’s writing is fantastic and a pleasure to read... She walks the reader clearly and explicitly through the questions she brings to current theories, her comparisons between what theories predict and what her data reveal, and the theoretical and practical conclusions she draws.... No More Invisible Man is a successful addition to Harvey Wingfield’s legacy—and to intersectionality scholarship."
Gender & Society

"Harvey makes an important contribution to the workplace literature, offering her concept of partial tokenization to a paradigm that fails to fully account for the experiences of professional black men.... Harvey advance[s] current scholarship by focusing on groups that have until now only received scant attention and make clear the ways race and racism act as an impediment in the twenty-first-century workplace."
Sociological Forum

"No More Invisible Man admirably extends and revises [Rosabeth Moss] Kanter’s major claims in order to make a case for the particular experience of black men in professional sectors.... The true jewel of this book, however, is that it encourages critical readers to consider how both race and gender work simultaneously in individuals’ constructions of the social reality of their everyday lives and the assessments of their own agency in those contexts. This addition is a welcome and necessary advance over scholarship on black men that often privileges race and therefore is less attentive to interconnection of the two categories."
American Journal of Sociology

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Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Tokenism Reassessed
2. The General Experience of Partial Tokenization
3. Interacting with Women in the Workplace
4. Other Men in the Workplace
5. Black Men and Masculinity
6. Emotional Performance
Conclusion
Appendix
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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About the Author(s)

Adia Harvey Wingfield is Associate Professor of Sociology at Georgia State University. She is author of Changing Times for Black Professionals and Doing Business with Beauty: Black Women, Hair Salons, and the Racial Enclave Economy, and co-author (with Joe Feagin) of Yes We Can? White Racial Framing and the 2008 Presidential Campaign.

Subject Categories

African American Studies
Gender Studies
Sociology

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