Who, what, where? : how segregated contexts and gender influence the association between racial discrimination and racial socialization messages

Scott, Lorraine Elaine
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Racial discrimination is still an ever-present race-related stressor in the lives of Black families, and is significantly associated with how parents communicate racial socialization messages to their adolescents. However, various contextual factors can modify how Black parents perceive and respond to racial discrimination. Specifically, neighborhood, school, and job racial composition, along with parent/adolescent gender dyad composition, provide important, contextual understandings of the communication of these messages. Using a national sample of Black parents (N = 565), the current study explored the relations between parent-reported personal and adolescent racial discrimination experiences and parental communication of cultural socialization and preparation for bias messages. Then I tested to see if the strength of these relationships differs according to the racial composition of the neighborhood, school, and workplace. After testing the direct effects and interactions between each moderator and independent variable, I conducted multi-group analyses on the original model by parent-child gender dyads. All analyses were conducted in Mplus 8.2. Parents’ racial discrimination experiences were significantly associated with their communication of high cultural socialization and preparation for bias messages to adolescents. Parents’ perceptions of adolescents’ racial discrimination experiences were also positively related to preparation for bias messages. The interaction between parent racial discrimination experiences and job composition was significantly related to parental communication of preparation for bias messages. Specifically, parents experiencing high amounts of racial discrimination communicated higher levels of preparation for bias messages if they worked in less Black workplaces, but not if they worked in more Black workplaces. Also, there were no parent-child gender differences in the association between racial discrimination and communication of preparation for bias and cultural socialization messages. Study findings demonstrate that Black parents vary in their communication of racial socialization messages based on their family’s various social positions and experiences.