Rutgers GSE CMSI

Omari Jackson

Omari Jackson is Associate Professor of Urban Educational Leadership at Morgan State University. During high school, Omari noticed the privilege possessed by students who hailed from higher socioeconomic backgrounds. For college, he attended The University of Michigan (UM). Though UM is a public school, it attracts a large proportion of wealthy students. Accordingly, Omari’s understanding of middle class changed; as he was not wealthy and lacked many of the “middle class” social and cultural experiences of his collegiate peers whose parents attended college. With the aforementioned life experiences, he started reflecting on social class. Even more, he started to reflect on the difference between a person who makes $90,000 as a blue collar laborer and $90,000 as a college-educated white collar laborer. Why did he attend college, yet many of his neighborhood peers whose parents were employed in the automotive industry did not attend college? Through scholarly inquiry, he found the emphasis his parents placed on college and his attendance at a magnet school provided social and cultural capitals. His neighborhood peers lacked such. Omari has a wealth of experience working with minorities in higher education, in terms of recruitment, retention, and post-secondary success.