On this episode of SCI TV, Dr. Scott Brooks, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Missouri, discusses black athletes and the inherent myth about natural talent and the hard work that black athletes put in to get where they go. Dr. Brooks sees sports as a means of investigating issues and myths around race.

About Dr. Brooks

Associate Professor of Sociology Scott Brooks was trained in urban sociology, race and class inequality, and qualitative research methods, while earning his Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. He also completed degrees at California State University – Hayward (M.A.) and the University of California – Berkeley (B.A.). Though some find race and ethnicity to be delicate topics, Brooks finds them “as American as apple pie.” He says, “I have always been intrigued by American culture and society generally, and we are a country of displaced natives, slaves, and immigrants. What could be more American than studying race and ethnicity?”

There is an old adage that says that for a happy and healthy career, you should get involved in a subject that you will love. Brooks took that advice to heart, combining his love of sports, particularly basketball, with his interest in sociology. Brooks sees sports as a way to investigate issues and myths of race, particularly popular myths involving race and athletic ability. His book, Black Men Can’t Shoot (University of Chicago Press, 2009), examines the careers of basketball players, beginning as youths, and traces how they evolve from good players to great players, and in some cases to college prospects. What he learned goes beyond the basketball floor and into people’s daily lives, emphasizing planning and hard work. The findings offer a theoretical perspective on how to understand career trajectories and mobility.

Brooks’ work offers insights into social dynamics across various settings and he has been interviewed and referenced by prominent news sources, including NPR and the Wall Street Journal, and published numerous scholarly articles and a book. Dr. Brooks is also engaged in mentoring college and high school students and has been recognized for his teaching and mentoring.

Check out a recent book interview: http://newbooksinsports.com/2011/09/19/scott-brooks-black-men-cant-shoot-university-of-chicago-press-2009/

Dr. Brooks’ book: Black Men Can’t Shoot