In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Children and Racism

  • Introduction
  • Historical Perspectives
  • Development of Racial Attitudes
  • Development of Racial Identifications and Attitudes in Context
  • Effects of Racism
  • Racial Identity
  • Family Socialization Practices
  • Education and School Settings
  • Juvenile Justice and Race
  • Children’s Health Services and Race

Childhood Studies Children and Racism
Stephen M. Quintana, Patrice Leverett
  • LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2014
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 April 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791231-0118


Research on racism and children has a long and influential history, with sustained attention over the years, given the social significance of this topic. Early research influenced public policy in the United States and some early theorizing about racism, standing the test of time. Conversely, many lay notions about the nature and formation of racial attitudes has been contradicted by psychological research. Recent research finds that infants within the first year respond differentially to race, and other research finds that parental socialization early in childhood influences later racial attitudes. Children develop explicit as well as implicit forms of racial attitudes. Children’s racial attitudes appear resistant to most programs attempting to modify them. Children are adversely affected when they are the target of racial stigmatization, with evidence suggesting that they internalize racial stereotypes and are associated with indices of behavioral health and functioning. Consciousness raising about racism by stigmatized youth promotes racial pride but has limited benefits for the deleterious effects of racism.

General Overviews

Several books have been published that provide broad overviews of racism during childhood, with Edited Volumes providing multiple theoretical perspectives and Authored Volumes providing detailed elaboration of more focused perspectives on children and racism.

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