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Abstract

Parental racial socialization is a complex process that is critical to teaching children how to effectively navigate a racialized and racially biased society. It has been identified as essential for the well-being and health among racial-ethnic minorities across the life course. While the process has been identified as important for families of specific backgrounds—particularly Black families—little empirical research exists which examines the process as it occurs in dual-minority multiracial families—i.e., families where both parents are from monoracial minority groups. The gap in our knowledge about the parental racial socialization process as it occurs in dual-minority multiracial families has two main consequences: First, it undermines the significance of these individuals’ experiences. Second, it greatly diminishes our knowledge and theory development in the field of racial and cultural socialization. The following two papers comprise a dissertation study that explores the nature of parental racial and cultural socialization of dual-minority multiracial children and expand theoretical perspectives of the process as well as methodological approaches.,In an effort to contribute to a more thorough understanding of the racial socialization process, the first paper, Racializing Multiracials: How phenotype and gender influence the Parental Racialization process, builds upon the existing research on racial socialization and introduces a new dimension of teaching children about race: Parental Racialization. This analysis draws upon forty-three in-depth semi-structured interviews with thirteen dual-minority multiracial families to develop an understanding of why parents are racially socializing their children. Findings indicate that societal perceptions and racialization based on children’s phenotype influence parents’ own racialization of their children. The analysis also finds the intersection of race and gender as contributing to varying methods of Parental Racialization for females and males who are perceived as Black.,The second paper, Parental Racial and Cultural Socialization: Examining the multiple modes of transmitting messages to children about race and culture, extends traditional research on racial and cultural socialization that has used surveys, structured observations, and in-depth interviews to assess these processes as they occur verbally, directly, and intentionally. While the field has made substantial strides, the current methodological approaches constrain an understanding of the range of parental contributions to a child’s racial and cultural socialization. This analysis draws on observational data in conjunction with interview data from a single dual-minority multiracial family. Participant observations were used in this study as an effective measure of the unintentional, nonverbal, and indirect modes of racial and cultural socialization. ,The findings from this paper draw attention to how the cultural and racial socialization process occurs and begin to demonstrate how parents prioritize the development of certain aspects of their children’s identity while being silent or avoidant about others. The incorporation of observational methods not only complements existing research agendas in the field, but provided the researcher with the opportunity to gain access to often hard to measure and frequently excluded dimensions of racial and cultural socialization.

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