“Race was something we didn't talk about”: Racial Socialization in Asian American Families

Jennifer L. Young*, Hae Dong Kim, Laura Golojuch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objective: Our goal was to explore racial socialization practices in Asian American families during a time of heightened racial tension. Background: Asian Americans hold a complex racial position in the United States, made even more complicated by an increase in public protests regarding socioracial injustices in the United States experienced by racial minority groups. Discussions about race and ethnicity occur within Asian American families but often focus on cultural heritage rather than awareness of discrimination and the historical roots of racism. Method: Our study used an inductive–deductive thematic analysis to collect data from 12 Asian American young adults. Semistructured interviews queried participants' experiences with racial socialization in their nuclear families and their own racial identity. Findings: Qualitative analysis revealed the following themes: (a) Participants received limited messages regarding racial issues, (b) participants engaged in “bottom-up” racial socialization and taught their parents about race, and (c) participants felt left out of society's racial dialogue. Conclusion: During this time of heightened racial tension, Asian American young adults struggle to find their place, despite wanting to participate in community building. Implications: Without strong Asian American racial socialization practices in families, young adults must educate themselves and initiate racial meaning-making in their families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1027-1039
Number of pages13
JournalFamily Relations
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Asian American families
  • intergenerational communication
  • qualitative research
  • racial socialization
  • young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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