Crystal Marie


African Americans
Art & Politics
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer
Racism/Racial Justice
Violence Against Women
White Privilege
Women & Feminism
Crystal Marie Fleming, PhD, is Associate Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies and Associate Faculty in the Department of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies at SUNY Stony Brook. She is an author, cultural critic and thought leader committed to empowering people with the conceptual tools needed to understand, confront and challenge white supremacy.
Dr. Fleming has conducted research on racism and anti-racism in multiple national contexts and collaborated on empirical projects in the United States, France, Brazil and Israel.  She holds a Ph.D. and a masters degree in Sociology from Harvard University and graduated with honors in Sociology and French from Wellesley College. Her scholarship appears in journals such as The Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Poetics, Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race and Mindfulness

Her new book, How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy and the Racial Divide (Beacon Press 2018), combines memoir, critical race theory, social commentary and satire to debunk common misconceptions about racism. 

Her first book Resurrecting Slavery: Racial Legacies and White Supremacy in France (Temple University Press, 2017) uses critical race theory to significantly advance scholarship on racism in France and Europe. Building on her award-winning dissertation, the book marshals ethnographic data, archival research and in-depth interviews with French activists and descendants of slaves to examine how commemorations of enslavement and abolition both challenge and reproduce the racial order.

A public intellectual known for her frank talk and insouciant humor, Crystal's provocative writing and speaking engage a broad range of scholarly and personal topics, from racism and white supremacy to politics, spirituality, feminism, (bi)sexuality and philosophy. Her essays and op-eds can be found in popular venues like Vox, The Root, Everyday Feminism, Black Agenda Report, Black Perspectives and Huffington Post.

She is also a bold, dynamic and influential voice on Twitter with over 30,000 followers and millions of readers. Her tweets on racism and politics are frequently cited in pop culture and media outlets such as The Nation, Hip Hop Wired, The New Republic, Washington Post, Al Jazeera, Blavity, USA Today, BET and Buzzfeed. 


Dr. Fleming is a gifted teacher and scholar who can communicate complex ideas to a broad audience.  Her talk at Trinity was an overwhelming success.  She explained the systemic and structural nature of racism in institutions of higher learning with remarkable lucidity, managing to elicit constant response and appreciation from her audience.  She filled the house and left it buzzing afterward.  More importantly, she is deeply versed in the scholarship on race and able to offer effective responses that can empower action by faculty, students, and administrators. 
— Sean Cocco, Associate Professor, History Dept and Dina Anselmi, Associate Professor, Psychology Dept   

“Fleming has written a timely analysis of systemic racism and white supremacy that is both deadly serious and seriously funny. With its deft mix of satire, memoir, and empirical evidence, her book is a groundbreaking model of public scholarship and sure to be an instant classic.”
—Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Ph.D., President of the American Sociological Association and author of Racism without Racists: Colorblind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America

“How to Be Less Stupid About Race is the perfect combination of Racism 101, critical race theory, and powerful analysis . . . This bold and brave book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand white supremacy in the United States.”
—Tanya Golash-Boza, Ph.D., Author of Race and Racisms: A Critical Approach

"It was a pleasure to have Dr. Fleming give a talk at William Paterson University . . . Her rapport with students was fantastic and when her talk was over she had students around her wanting more time for questions and discussions. She helped our students see issues of criminology and race in a different context (France) and depended their understanding of how structure and context shape racism broadly. Feedback after the event was extremely positive, with faculty and students alike commenting on how much they learned."
—Wendy M. Christensen, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Assistant Chair, William Paterson University

What workshop participants value about "Get Connected! Building Supportive Relationships in the Academy":

"Crystal's frankness and way of "showing not telling" what she means by supportive relationship. The highly resonant H.E.A.R.T. principles as well as dimensions on which to identify relationships. Especially the fake support and covert undermining examples."

"I really like how straight forward/matter of fact you were. I also appreciated how you broke down different forms of unsupportive relationships. I think sometimes we all know the obvious ones but you shed some light on the more insidious ones, including how to detect them, which I found very helpful given that I'm at a PWI, in a historically and predominantly white department."

"Crystal is a wonderful and wise teacher. Her insights about both supportive relationships were valuable. I liked what she said about elevating your values. I'm grateful that I had this opportunity. I could have used this training twenty years ago."

"THANK YOU for always being oriented towards being an academic that is authentic and generous towards your community in these important ways that we all should be."

"I just loved it. Thank you for the work you are doing. I feel more positive and hopeful after this presentation. Keep up the great work."


How to Be Less Stupid About Race
Combining no-holds-barred social critique, humorous personal anecdotes, and analysis of the latest interdisciplinary scholarship on systemic racism, sociologist Crystal Marie Fleming provides a fresh, accessible, and irreverent take on everything that’s wrong with our “national conversation about race.” Drawing upon critical race theory, as well as her own experiences as a queer black millennial college professor and researcher, Fleming unveils how systemic racism exposes us all to racial ignorance—and provides a road map for transforming our knowledge into concrete social change.

Confronting White Supremacy: Racism and Anti-racism in our Classrooms and Communities (lecture or workshop)
How can we, as members of educational communities, confront the social, political and psychological dimensions of white supremacy? In light of the election of a president endorsed by the KKK and the rise of neo-nazi movements globally, Dr. Crystal Marie Fleming reflects on the roots and consequences of white supremacy and the need to challenge intersecting forms of domination and inequality. The talk will cover topics affecting students, professors and administrators, including: institutional racism, white privilege, implicit bias, freedom of speech and microaggressions in the classroom. Dr. Fleming will also share suggestions for concrete actions academic communities can take for addressing racial and ethnic disparities and promoting anti-racism in academia.

Killing Them Softly: Anti-blackness and the Legacies of Slavery in France
Through its sprawling colonial empire, France established itself as one of the world’s most ruthless and prolific exploiters of black and brown bodies and labor. Yet, despite centuries of colonial violence against people racialized as ‘black’, the French state has managed to largely suppress its ongoing history of antiblackness while maintaining a global reputation as a liberal democracy. In this talk,  Dr. Fleming draws upon her 2017 book Resurrecting Slavery: Racial Legacies and White Supremacy in France to explore the discursive and political practices that allow the French to routinely disappear their violent subjugation of racialized minoriies across the globe. Building on her concept of "racial temporality", Fleming draws connections between the "Black Code" and "Police des Noirs" – French policies that deployed violence and surveillance against black people in the 17th and 18th centuries—and the the legacies of slavery in France today. In so doing, she reveals the contours of global white supremacy--and highlights how people of color in France are fighting back.

Get Connected! Building a Supportive Network in Academia (workshop)
Would you like to build a network of colleagues and mentors who embrace your vision and share your values? Do you feel unsupported in your department or discipline? Are you ready to get connected? In this online workshop, Professor Crystal Fleming draws upon her personal experiences (re)building a network of support in order to help you create and nurture professional relationships that will help you thrive in the academy. Unlike traditional approaches to networking, this webinar combines mindfulness, spirituality and practical techniques for cultivating authentic connections. Participants will learn specific skills, including:

• Harnessing mindfulness practices and meditation to discover the kind of support you need
• Using visualization to re(imagine) your network
• Defining and amplifying your values
• Identifying others who share your passions, politics and perspectives
• Creating community with social media
• Balancing strategic decisions with authenticity as you connect with peers and mentors
• Building more bridges than you burn
• Having people in your corner when the proverbial shit hits the fan