SO WHAT DO YOU DO?
I am a philosopher and educator. Yes, there exist philosophers who are Black and are women.
So what exactly is a philosopher? Well, I am interested in lots of things that psychologists, neuroscientists, and activists find interesting but the questions I ask are quite different. Instead of asking how the brain works, I ask given that the brain works this way, how does this inform what we should do? Or if anger occurs in the motivational part of the brain, what does this say about its usefulness in politics? Or if there is a such thing as a racial empathy gap, what does this say about our ability and hope of understanding each other?
I am currently completing my PhD in philosophy at the University of Illinois, Chicago. In 2016-2017, I am a Visiting Edmonds J. Safra Center Fellow in Ethics and a Santayana Fellow in the philosophy department at Harvard University where I will be writing and researching on anger and forgiveness.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON?
I am doing work at the intersection of moral psychology and political philosophy, with special interest in political and moral emotions. My research intersects with issues of race and gender. Currently, I am doing work on anger, empathy, and forgiveness. My dissertation gives an account of racialized requests for forgiveness and argues that in reifying the racial hierarchy these requests block the aims of forgiveness, thereby giving us moral reasons to resist the practice. You can read some preliminary thoughts about it Here. I also am currently co-editing ‘The Moral Psychology of Anger’ with Owen Flanagan (currently under contract at Rowman and Littlefield).
A former educator at the Fortune Society, an organization that supports successful reentry from prison and promotes alternatives to Incarceration and a Former Faculty Associate in John Jay’s Institute for Criminal Justice Ethics, I am also passionate about criminal justice ethics and mass incarceration. A recent essay on black lives matter, state racism, and state violence published in the Oxford Handbook for Philosophy of Race can be found here. Philosophically, I find forgiveness, character, and emotions very intriguing and I am interested in how race, class, and gender affects how we conceive of the three.
HOW DO YOU VIEW YOURSELF WITHIN THE PHILOSOPHICAL TRADITION?
Like David Hume, I am interested in human nature, empiricism, and moral psychology. Like Nietzsche, I see myself as an iconoclast engaging in a revaluation of values. But my purpose for doing so can be found within the African-American and feminist philosophy tradition. My work always has as its end goal this question: How can my work aid in the empowerment and liberation of those who are marginalized and oppressed?
WHAT DO YOU TEACH?
I have over 10 years of experience teaching on the university level. I teach courses in ethics, ethics and law, and social and political philosophy. I have taught philosophy at University of Maryland Baltimore County, City University of New York (John Jay College and York College), Long Island University, St. Johns University, and St. Francis College. I do not only teach college students. During several summers, I have taught philosophy to high school students at Columbia University, organized a summer philosophy program for formerly incarcerated adults at John Jay College, and I have taught debate and critical thinking to high school students in Harlem, NY.
IS EVERYTHING ABOUT THE ACADEMY?
No. I am a blogger for the Huffington Post , a contributor for Enterprenuer.com, and I have written for Salon.com and the LA Times. My Op-Eds is where I like to explicitly merge philosophical ideas with contemporary news. I am also a former music reviewer for allhiphop.com URB magazine, and OkayPlayer.com. Yup!! I have appeared on BET and HuffPost Live to offer up social commentary on issues of race, gender, and ethics.
In 2015, I created the UnMute Podcast. The purpose of the podcast is to make philosophy accessible and to also provide a platform for people and topics that have not been given much attention in mainstream philosophy. At UnMute, I interview young, brilliant, and diverse philosophers as they give their take on controversial issues, pop culture, and the social and political dramas of our day. We laugh. We learn. We plot revolutions.
When I’m not teaching, I hope I am writing. When I procrastinate about that, I ride my bike & longboard, run 5K’s and participate in adventure races, roam comic book stores, obsess about Lebron James, and engage with the world through social media.
ARE YOU AN ANTI-SOCIAL PHILOSOPHER?
Of course not! If you have a question, you can reach me by email or social media. I am also experienced with speaking to audiences in academic settings where I have given talks recently at University of Michigan, Harvard University, and the University of Witts in South Africa. I also have experience with non-academic settings as I have spoken at South By South West Edu (SXSWedu) and TEDx. I am available to present or offer social commentary on emotions and social justice, race, ethics, gender and sexuality, and mass incarceration.
Take a look around the page. I blog about anything I consider philosophical. I hope you find my videos and interviews informative. I also have some teaching and research resources that I hope are helpful. Enjoy and Share.