Tony N. Brown

WEBSITE(S)| RARE Workgroup

As a critical race theorist, I investigate how racism works, from the womb to the tomb, to disadvantage blacks and privilege whites. Mechanisms of racism include interactions across interpersonal, institutional, and cultural levels, implicating the mundane and extraordinary in the maintenance of white supremacy. In my quantitative research, I avoid attempting to explain away the race coefficient, instead highlighting heterogeneity within black populations thereby demonstrating that race is socially constructed and represents shared experiences, attitudes, and beliefs. Using survey data from community-based samples, I am currently examining the mental health significance of racial discrimination, the social construction of race in Brazil, race socialization during childhood, the epidemiology of racial trauma, the psychological wages of whiteness, and culturally-specific conceptualizations of mental health. I have secured funding from various federal agencies to support my program for research.

I earned my Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and completed postdoctoral training at Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. Before joining Rice University in 2016, I was tenured in the sociology department at Vanderbilt University. While there, I co-edited the American Sociological Review, served as the inaugural Faculty Head of Hank Ingram House in the Martha Rivers Ingram Commons, and held appointments in numerous departments and programs across the main and medical campuses.


Brown, Tony N., Asia Bento, Julian Culver, Raul Casarez, and Horace J. Duffy III. Forthcoming. “Intergroup Contact and White Racial Apathy: Findings from the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR).” Sociological Perspectives.

Brown, Tony N., Chase L. Lesane-Brown, Rachell Davis, and Michael Carroll. Forthcoming. “Viral Racism via Videos: A Study of Asian Americans’ Experiences of Interpersonal Discrimination Because of COVID-19.” Social Currents.

Gorman, Jr., Quintin, Tony N. Brown, and Julian Culver. Forthcoming. “My Commander in Chief is Black! The Mental Health Significance of Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential Election for Military Veterans.” Armed Forces & Society.

Slaughter, Jaime, Tony N. Brown, Verna M. Keith, Rhonda Dailey, and Dawn P. Misra. Forthcoming. “A Tale of Two Generations: Maternal Skin Color and Adverse Birth Outcomes in Black American Women.” Social Science & Medicine.

Brown, Tony N., Alexa Solazzo, and Bridget K. Gorman. 2021. “‘Yes We Can!’ Examining the Mental Health Significance for U.S. Black Adults of Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential Election.” Sociology of Race and Ethnicity 7(1):101-115.

Evelyn J. Patterson, Ryan D. Talbert, and Tony N. Brown. 2021. “Familial Incarceration, Social Role Combinations, and Mental Health among African American Women.” Journal of Marriage and Family 83(1):86-101.

Bento, Asia and Tony N. Brown. 2021. “Belief in Systemic Racism and Self-Employment among Working Blacks.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 44(1):21-38.

Research Areas

Critical Race Theory; Health Disparities; Race and Racism; Sociology of Mental Health; Survey Design and Methods.


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