School & Family Approaches to Inequality and Race

For children to thrive in our increasingly diverse society, they must be prepared to engage with issues of race and racism. Research suggests that two of the best places for children to learn about race and racism are from their teachers and parents (through processes known as ethnic-racial socialization), yet few studies have examined how teachers’ and parents’ influences might interact when predicting children’s racial attitudes. Are the effects of teacher and parental messages independent of one another, or does the effect of one socializer’s message depend on its (in)congruence with messages from the other socializer? Do these associations differ by child’s age or the racial diversity of their schools?

 

Funding

The Spencer Foundation

Lyle M. Spencer established the Spencer Foundation in 1962 to investigate ways education, broadly conceived, might be improved. The Spencer Foundation invests in education research that cultivates learning and transforms lives.

 

Meet the Research Team

Cari Gillen-O'Neel

Cari earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Scripps College and her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from UCLA. Cari is currently an Associate Professor of Psychology at Macalester College where she teaches courses in research methods and social development, and she studies children’s identity development.

Virginia received her Ph.D. from the Department of Psychology at UCLA. She is originally from Beaverton, Oregon and attended college at Loyola Marymount University. Virginia is currently a Professor of Child and Adolescent Development at California State University, Northridge. Her research focuses on understanding social and cultural factors—such as discrimination and ethnic socialization—that influence the academic, psychological, and physical well-being of ethnic minority and immigrant children and adolescents.

Asya is a doctoral candidate and National Science Foundation Fellow in the Combined Program of Education and Psychology at the University of Michigan. Her research explores how perceptions of social hierarchy, race-related school experiences, and various ecological contexts shape the conversations African American families have about race. Asya completed her undergraduate degree at California State University, Northridge.

Taylor is a doctoral student in Human Development and Psychology at UCLA. Her program of research examines social identity development in middle childhood, and how children’s proximal contexts (e.g., school, home) shape their understanding of social groups. Taylor received her B.A. in Psychology and Elementary Education from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

 

Resources for Families

Racial-Ethnic Socialization

For children to thrive in our increasingly diverse society, they must be prepared to engage with issues of race and racism. Research suggests that two of the best places for children to learn about race and racism are from their teachers and parents (through processes known as ethnic-racial socialization), yet few studies have examined how teachers’ and parents’ influences might interact when predicting children’s racial attitudes.