Using Family Systems to Promote Dignity & Prepare for Discrimination: Racial Socialization of Black Youth
Keniston (1978) asserted that Black youth are “the most endangered children in our society.” Indeed, Black children and teens are exposed to myriad risks, particularly those that emanate from the legacy of racism in this country. Yet, despite historical deficit-oriented narratives concerning them, Black youth—and their families—have continued to demonstrate positive psychosocial outcomes. Moreover, assisting diverse family structures in cogently providing racial socialization may optimize the historical psychosocial protection of this racially-relevant factor. In this presentation, conceptual and empirical work on mechanisms undergirding the salutary benefit of familial racial socialization will be discussed. Specifically, mixed-methods (i.e., survey, observation, interview) research will be presented that addresses how diverse families of Black youth navigate teaching their children about race. This presentation will conclude with a discussion of ongoing and future research, including how both experimental and prospective studies can serve to promote the resiliency of Black youth.