His mother worked during the day in the financial aid office at the University of Cincinnati, and then went to her second job as a courier for UPS. On the weekends she worked as a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Army where she retired as a Sergeant First Class. His father is an ordained minister who worked as a salesman and, much later after earning his doctorate degree, as owner of a tutoring business.
In articles like “Mommy there’s a N***** at the Door” published in the Journal of Counseling and Development Ron recalls countless stories of how he was mistreated as a child and young adult in Cincinnati because of the mere color of his skin. This compelled him to write about racism and White privilege. It also led him to explore the social construction of identity. After dabbling a bit in theories of identity Jackson decided he would create a couple of his own. Because he was so enamored with Stella Ting Toomey’s work around identity negotiation he developed a theory that would try to make sense of what people are actually negotiating when they say they are negotiating cultural identity. With feedback from two of his mentors, Bill Starosta and Molefi Asante, he coined “Cultural Contracts Theory.” He reasoned that it is actually one’s worldview that is at stake in these daily and instantaneous identity negotiations. As he began to unravel the publicly assigned meanings inherent in his own identity as an African American male, he wrote extensively about Black masculinities, beginning with an essay called “Black manhood as xenophobe” published in the Journal of Black Studies. The logical next step was to conceptualize this, so he along with one of his Penn State students Celnisha Dangerfield created the Black Masculine Identity Theory.
Currently, Ron Jackson is professor of communication at University of Cincinnati, and author of 14 books. He has previously served on the faculty in the departments of communication at Xavier University, Shippensburg University, Penn State University, and University of Illinois. He is also developing digital education materials for popular consumption. His most recent books include Interpreting Tyler Perry, Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation (which just won a Will Eisner Award for Best Academic/Scholarly Book in the Comics Industry), and Communicating Marginalized Masculinities. Ron is also a candidate for NCA 2nd Vice President. You can read more about his work at www.jacksonfornca.com.