Socialization of racial ideology by White parents.

Jamie L. Abaied*, Sylvia P. Perry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: The ways that White American parents socialize their children to think about and interact with racial out-groups are not well understood. The goals of this study were to explore the degree to which White parents endorse contradictory racial ideologies, and the reasons behind the presence versus absence of parent–child discussions of race-related current events (e.g., Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, or the Charleston church shooting). Method: We recruited a sample of White parents of children ages 8–12 on Amazon MechanicalTurk (N = 165, 66.1% female, M-age = 36.67) and applied a qualitative thematic analysis to their answers to open-ended probes regarding racial discussions with their children. Results: Results revealed both color-blind and color-conscious racial ideology communicated by White parents. Thirty-seven percent of White parents endorsed a mixture of color-blind and color-conscious ideology. The majority of parents did not discuss race-related current events with their children; many believed these discussions were either too negative or unnecessary. Conclusions: The results indicate that White parents have the potential to be agents of change that socialize color-conscious beliefs in their children, but many are reinforcing the current system of color-blind indifference to racial inequality. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved) Public Significance Statement—This study suggests that some White parents communicate contradictory messages to their children about race and racism. The study also found that most White parents avoided talking about race-related current events with their 8–12-year-old children because they view their children as too young to talk about race, they say the topic hasn’t come up, or they think discussing race isn’t necessary. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • middle childhood
  • parenting
  • race
  • racial socialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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