McNair Scholar 2018 Zerbine Atosha Rypa

Zerbine Atosha Rypa is a senior at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, majoring in Sociology of Law Crime and Deviance pursuing. Her research interests revolve around schools and the criminal justice system. She wants to understand the school to prison pipeline and factors that contribute to the pipeline.

Zerbine Atosha Rypa headshot
My dream is to help marginalized communities find healing and use history as fuel to move society forward. I want to be published author and receive a Ph.D. in the social sciences.

Research project

The Red Line Between Us and Them: A Conceptual Framework of How the Violence Used to Protect White Privilege Turns into a Common Sense Myth in the Penal System

Abstract: The method used for this research was creating a conceptual framework that brought together several social scientific sub-specialties into a coherent argument about the nature of racial segregation in the penal organizations. In this conceptual framing, I investigate the origins of the rationales used to justify racial segregation in prisons and jails, and I reframe these rationales as a type of institutional myth that potentially increases interracial violence instead of decreasing it. The finding of the research was that there are themes that connect contemporary racial segregation in penal organizations with Jim Crowism. These themes include irrational and interrogated fear of racial integration and permissive policies, practices, and judicial orders for racial segregation under the guise of ensuring security. This research is a small part of a larger ethnography of a county jail system. Michael Walker’s particular interest is in the role of race and race relations in structuring the everyday lives of jail inmates as well as the history of the policies that give race meaning in jails.

Faculty mentor

Dr. Michael Walker is currently an assistant professor in the Sociology department at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Dr. Walker attended the University of California-Riverside where he received his Ph.D in Sociology. His research specializes in social Control, stratification, inequality, criminal justice, methodology, and urban sociology. He is published in the American Journal of Sociology and Theoretical Criminology. Dr. Walker was a former McNair scholar.