In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Race and Youth

  • Introduction
  • Reference Works
  • Textbooks
  • Anthologies
  • Bibliographies
  • Journals
  • Sociological Theories of Race
  • Sociological Theories of Youth
  • Youth as Racial Subjects in Schools
  • Racial Learning in Families
  • Racial Attitudes and Youth
  • Racial Identity Formation
  • Racialization of Youth
  • Youth, Race, Class, and Intergenerational Inequality
  • Youth, Race, and Gender
  • Youth as Political Participants
  • Media and Youth
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Youth, Consumer Culture, and Racial and/or Ethnic Identity

Sociology Race and Youth
Margaret A. Hagerman, Courtney Heath
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 February 2020
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0242


Though the study of race and youth is an interdisciplinary endeavor, this article is centered on research on this topic from a sociological perspective. Contributions from the field include theoretical frameworks to address how children and youth learn about race and racism, form racial identities and racial attitudes, and understand themselves and others as racial subjects. Additionally, sociological research offers a wealth of empirical evidence concerning how children and youth experience, navigate, reinforce, and/or challenge racial inequality, racism, and racial discrimination in their everyday lives. This work examines the role that social structures, systems, and institutions—such as families, schools, the state, health-care systems, the economic system, and the media—play in shaping young people’s lived experiences, opportunities, and outcomes. Sociological research also explores the process of the racialization of youth, the consequences of these racialized understandings, and how this leads to the continued dehumanization of children of color. Scholarship additionally examines the agency of young people and how they engage as political participants in the racialized society in which they live as well as how youth participate in consumer culture in ways that connect to their own racial and ethnic identities. Sociologists in the current moment tend to pay particular attention to the establishment of child-centered methodologies and strategies for equitable and ethical approaches to the study of youth and race. As such, many of these citations highlight scholarly efforts to dismantle long-standing racist stereotypes and assumptions about young people of color and demonstrate the complex nature of race, racism, and racialization with respect to youth.

Reference Works

The following reference works contain sections pertaining to youth and race, including how children learn about and are impacted by race and racism. Fass 2004 and Moore 2008 offer a broad range of entries while Gabbidon and Greene 2009 cover race and crime, and Price 2019 provides articles focused on education.

  • Fass, Paula S. 2004. Encyclopedia of children and childhood: In history and society. New York: Macmillan Reference USA.

    This volume comprises an extensive selection of articles on children and childhood. Entries include a discussion of children’s rights, youth activism, and interdisciplinary studies on the impacts of race and racism on children and youth. Offers a global perspective.

  • Gabbidon, Shaun L., and Helen Taylor Greene. 2009. Encyclopedia of race and crime. Los Angeles: SAGE.

    Though not centered on children and youth, this work incorporates such sections as juvenile offenders, children of offenders, youth victimization, etc. with an emphasis on the impacts of racism and discrimination in the criminal justice system. Focus is on the United States.

  • Moore, John H. 2008. Encyclopedia of race and racism. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA.

    Interdisciplinary collection of works exploring the social, political, historical, and economic dimensions of race and racism. Entries include empirical studies of racial disparities among youth and racial socialization/learning. Focuses primarily on the United States but does have some broader analyses of colonialism.

  • Price, Paula Groves, ed. 2019. Encyclopedia of race and education. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

    Online selection of peer-reviewed research articles that are updated regularly. Entries include discussions of curriculum and pedagogy, educational policy, alternative education. International in scope.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

How to Subscribe

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.