Racial socialisation describes the mechanisms by which youth acquire concepts of race and racism. The field addressing racial dynamics in the United States has primarily focused on the racial socialisation of youth of colour, generally regarding White racial socialisation as superfluous for White people, and therefore mostly absent in White families. The current study used qualitative methods to investigate the racial socialisation practices of White parents of White children; we conducted 36 in-depth interviews with 13 White families (parent/s and a teen child). Parents and teens were asked about their beliefs about race and how racial issues were addressed in the family. The results show that White youth received clear messages around colour-blindness attitudes and behaviours, and that their parents were intentional in conveying such messages. The authors discuss the implications of the fact that racial socialisation practices within White families are both pervasive and systematic.
Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity Duke University