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Am J Community Psychol. 2003 Mar;31(1-2):15-33.

Correlates of African American and Latino parents' messages to children about ethnicity and race: a comparative study of racial socialization.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, 6 Washington Place (Room 280), New York, New York 10003, USA.


Recently, social scientists have become increasingly interested in the nature of communications from parents to children regarding ethnicity and race. Termed racial socialization, race-related messages to children may have important consequences for children's identity development and well-being. This study examined the frequency and correlates of two dimensions of racial socialization-messages about ethnic pride, history, and heritage (Cultural Socialization) and messages about discrimination and racial bias (Preparation for Bias)--among 273 urban African American, Puerto Rican, and Dominican parents. Parents reported more frequent Cultural Socialization than Preparation for Bias. There were no significant ethnic group differences in the frequency of Cultural Socialization. However, African American parents reported more frequent Preparation for Bias than did Dominican parents who, in turn, reported more frequent messages of this sort than did Puerto Rican parents Ethnic identity was a stronger predictor of Cultural Socialization among Puerto Rican and Dominican parents than among their African American counterparts. In contrast, perceived discrimination experiences was a stronger predictor of Preparation for Bias among African American and Dominican parents than among Puerto Rican parents. Finally, race-related phenomenon accounted for more variance in both Cultural Socialization and Preparation for Bias among parents reporting on their behaviors with children 10-17 years old as compared to parents reporting on their behaviors with children 6-9 years old.

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