Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group


First Advisor

Dorothy E. Roberts


This is an 18-month ethnographic research study of the contemporary Black American Parisian community. Using 50 semi-structured in-depth interviews, hundreds of hours of field notes from participant observation research, this study attempts to understand how a racially marginalized group grapples with a dual privileged and oppressed identity as Black American immigrants is a racial-caste system. The first chapter of the dissertation outlines a concept of racial privilege called “permeable privilege.” Permeable privilege is a theoretical conceptualization of the unearned benefits that Black American Parisian immigrants benefit from as U.S. citizens and Parisian immigrants. The second chapter explores a concept called racial weight using the lens of Black Feminist theory to understand how Black American Parisian women navigate and respond to racism. The final chapter explores the narratives that Black American Parisians draw upon to explain how they grapple with understanding their positionality in Parisian society as more desirable than the deeply-embedded racism of the United States. Overall, this is a study of how racism in both the U.S. and in France shapes the lives and choices of one small sample of a unique demographic and it contributes to fields of intersectionality, immigration and race and ethnic relations.


Available to all on Saturday, September 09, 2023

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Sociology Commons