Modica Publishes "Race Among Friends"

by Corinne Twigg - Office of Marketing | Dec 03, 2015
Race Among Friends
In her book, “Race Among Friends,” published this fall by Rutgers University Press, Department of Education Associate Professor Marianne Modica, Ph.D., focuses on a suburban charter school where students of various racial identities experience how race affects day to day interactions. Based on qualitative research that she conducted as part of her dissertation, Modica explores and analyzes race relations among high school students in a friendly, mixed race, suburban setting. The book explores the serious ramifications for students and teachers when society chooses to ignore race in favor of a “colorblind society.” 

“You don’t really know what you’re going to find in an ethnography. All you have are questions,” says Modica. Indeed, she entered the research phase with a number of questions and an open mind. As high school students read multicultural literature, she observed their responses and took time to interview students and teachers concerning racial diversity. Having a great interest in student perspectives on diversity, she originally set out to discover if literature in context affects the student’s way of thinking. What she found surprised her. “Everyone at the school kept talking about how friendly the environment was. When I would ask questions about racial diversity, the common response was, 'We are all friends here.'” 
For this reason, during the writing process, the overarching theme of her book became cross-racial friendships. According to Modica, the book was originally to be titled, “Race in the Suburbs.” “I realized that friendship was the piece that was different,” says Modica. She believes that "Race Among Friends" is different from other ethnographies because it looks at race relations in a small, friendly, suburban environment.

The book is available on