All the Feelings: Doing Research as a Black Woman on Black Women Political Elites
By Nadia E. Brown, Georgetown University
As a flood of emotions washed over me, I first drew shallow breaths that later quickened. I fought the urge to cry. Instead, I took deep and intentional breaths in an attempt to center myself. “I’m a researcher, this is my job” was the calming refrain I repeated to my inner self. “Nadia, please get yourself together” was my last internal dialogue before I welcomed a group of 15 Black women candidates and elected officials to participate in a focus group. My coauthor, Danielle Lemi, and I had the fortunate opportunity to partner with the Black Women’s Political Action Committee (PAC), a group whose mission is to increase Black women’s political representation in Texas. To our knowledge, this was the first-ever focus group of its kind. The scholarly significance of this study led me to have an unexpected visceral reaction.