Harvard researcher James Riley’s indelible past

Sunday, May 21, 2023 - 14:32 in Psychology & Sociology

.article-badge{display: block; margin:20px 0;}@media only screen and (min-width: 768px){.article-badge{position:absolute; left:36%; top: -165px;margin:0;}}@media only screen and (min-width: 1240px){.article-badge{left:-260px;}} Life | Work is a series focused on the personal side of Harvard research and teaching. James W. Riley has been confronted with questions of identity and alienation since he was a teenage graffiti artist navigating 1990s Los Angeles. “I’ve always had this notion of going places and being in spaces that maybe subtly said, ‘You don’t belong here,’” said Riley, now an economic sociologist at Harvard Business School. His parents were an interracial couple who fell in love in the 1960s, when mixed marriages faced scorn and sometimes worse in many parts of the U.S. Even so, he said, they always believed in the promise and potential of the American dream and the core principles — equality, freedom, and democracy — that define it. “My parents instilled in me, ‘You’re free and you can be what you...

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