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Racial Socialization and Ability to Navigate Racism: The Experiences of Multiracial Black Adults Raised in Cross-Racial Families


Using qualitative in-depth interviews with multiracial and transracially adopted adults of African descent, the purpose of this study was to investigate: (1) the ways in which Cross Racially Raised individuals experience racism in educational settings, (2) the ways in which Cross Racially Raised individuals perceive their parents/guardians' efforts toward racial socialization, (3) the coping strategies Cross Racially Raised individuals employ to navigate racially hostile environments, and (4) the ways in which experiences of racism, coping strategies, or perceptions of parent/guardian approaches to racial socialization differ for multiracial individuals of African descent raised with a Black parent or guardian present in comparison to those raised without the presence of a Black parent or guardian. Findings suggested that racial socialization processes varied by the racial composition of the family; that is, families in which there was at least one Black parent or guardian present tended to more openly address issues of race and racism in comparison to families in which there was no Black parent or guardian present. Studying racial socialization among those on the margins of race illuminated examples of agency in developing a sense of racial competency when parents did not talk about race or provide supports for navigating racism. Findings from this study hold theoretical implications for how racial socialization is conceptualized and practical implications for child welfare programs and policies.

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