Through the looking glass: Ethnic racial socialization among children and adolescents

Martin D. Ruck, Diane L. Hughes, Erika Y. Niwa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Ethnicity and race are critical in how children and youth experience, negotiate, and navigate development. A robust literature has illustrated that ethnic-racial socialization (ERS) in particular plays an important role in how children develop an understanding of ethnicity and race. The majority of research has typically focused on parents as agents of socialization and ERS during adolescence. In addition, most studies use survey approaches and focus on US-based populations. We highlight conceptual, theoretical, and empirical work that seeks to push forward knowledge about the myriad ways in which individuals, interactions, and settings communicate messages to youth about ethnicity and race. Here we provide a brief overview of the literature on ERS, followed by a set of core commitments that guided our solicitation and selection of articles for this special issue. The articles represent a range of theoretical frameworks and methodologies; cover ERS of children across the developmental spectrum; examine children from multiple ethnic-racial groups; elaborate issues related to intersectionality and co-constructed identities; and consider socialization of ethnicity-race as it occurs across multiple settings, inclusive of families. We conclude with a description of the articles included in this special issue and how they map onto our core commitments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)943-963
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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