Press Room

How Do Communication, Race, and Class Affect Police-Citizen Relations in 2016?

July 11, 2016
Experts Available
Race/Class/Gender, Social Justice
Washington, DC - Protests and demonstrations continue throughout the country following the death of Alton Sterling of Louisiana, Philando Castile of Minnesota, and five police officers in Texas including Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael J. Smith, Brent Thompson, and Patrick Zamarripa. The deaths have sparked national conversations about race, the Black Lives Matter movement, and police violence.
  • Is there more than one message being conveyed by the #BlackLivesMatter movement?
  • How can communication between police and communities be improved?
  • What role does technology play in the issues being discussed (civilian camera-phones, Facebook Live, police body cameras)?
  • Could police communication training improve interactions with communities?

Communication expert Dr. Karsonya Wise Whitehead of Loyola University Maryland says that the recent incidents can be viewed through various lenses, including from a communication perspective. Professor Whitehead specializes in the intersections of communication, race, class, and gender.

Dr. Karsonya Wise Whitehead
Professor of Communication and African American Studies
Department of Communication, Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore

Dr. Whitehead’s research focuses on communication, race, class, and gender. She frequently provides media with commentary on race, including a four-part series in the Baltimore Sun, “From Enslavement to Freedom,” and she is the award-winning author of three books including “Letters to My Black Sons: Raising Boys in a Post-Racial America,” released in 2015. Her latest book released in March of 2016 is titled “RaceBrave: New and Selected Works” and focuses on Black Lives Matter and last year’s Baltimore uprising.

To schedule an interview with Dr. Whitehead, please contact Natalia López-Thismón at or 202-534-1104.

About the National Communication Association

The National Communication Association (NCA) advances Communication as the discipline that studies all forms, modes, media, and consequences of communication through humanistic, social scientific, and aesthetic inquiry. NCA serves the scholars, teachers, and practitioners who are its members by enabling and supporting their professional interests in research and teaching. Dedicated to fostering and promoting free and ethical communication, NCA promotes the widespread appreciation of the importance of communication in public and private life, the application of competent communication to improve the quality of human life and relationships, and the use of knowledge about communication to solve human problems. NCA supports inclusiveness and diversity among our faculties, within our membership, in the workplace, and in the classroom; NCA supports and promotes policies that fairly encourage this diversity and inclusion.

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