Racial Socialization of Black Youth: How Perceptions, Experiences, and Media Exposure to Police Misconduct Influence Parental Conversations

Shelby Manning Smith, Purdue University


Awareness of police misconduct is on the rise as video footage of these incidents has become more accessible to the public. While it is clear that racial based trauma such as police misconduct impacts the Black community, little is known about how these incidents affect the racial socialization messages given to Black youth. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between Black parental experiences and perceptions of police misconduct, and the racial socialization messages Black parents give to their children. It was hypothesized that parental experiences and exposure to police misconduct would predict racial socialization practices. Black parents were recruited through Black parenting Facebook groups and Amazon MTurk and completed an online-survey for this study. Findings did not support several hypotheses; however, parental reports of racial discrimination predicted racial socialization messages. A more comprehensive understanding of parental conversations about police interactions was provided through qualitative data collected, and four themes were identified: respect and compliance, safety precautions, silence, and race-talk. The results of this research provide useful information about racial socialization processes. Clinical implications for marriage and family therapists are discussed.




Nalbone, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Black studies|Social research|Individual & family studies

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