Abstract: WITHDRAWN: We Are Not the Same, or Are We?: Exploring the Effectiveness of a Racial Socialization Intervention Among Black Youth in Chicago (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

WITHDRAWN: We Are Not the Same, or Are We?: Exploring the Effectiveness of a Racial Socialization Intervention Among Black Youth in Chicago

Sunday, January 16, 2022
Marquis BR Salon 9, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
* noted as presenting author
Heather Watson, MSW, Doctoral Student, Loyola University, Chicago, Chicago, IL
Katherine Tyson McCrea, PhD, Professor, Loyola University, Chicago, Chicago, IL
Background and Purpose: While discrimination is known to be destructive for persons’ well-being, social work practice models do not address protecting persons’ well-being against discrimination. Racial discrimination has always negatively impacted the Black community. Exposure to racial discrimination harms Black youth, obstructs Black citizens’ access to healthcare, housing, and employment, undermines their academic success, and corrodes their physical and psychological health. Black families engage in conversations to protect youth from discrimination, but these strategies have not been previously studied systematically. This research investigates the following questions:

  1. How do Black families support the well-being of low-income African American adolescents against discriminatory experiences based on race?
  2. A) What are the experiences of discrimination youth endure from macro, meso, and micro systems?
  3. B) How do Black caregivers talk with youth to protect their dignity from these discrimination?
  4. How can social work interventions make use of these findings to improve the capacity of social work practice models to support persons experiencing discrimination?

The context of the study is a participatory action social work program that for 15 years has provided free out-of-school and counseling services for low-income youth of color and their families. The program generates knowledge that uplifts the perspectives of low-income youth of color and builds practice models that are more responsive to the needs of Black youth. The conceptual framework draws from critical race theory, for generating knowledge that is free of the preconceptions of white supremacy. The theoretical background draws from Racial Encounter Coping Appraisal and Socialization Theory (RECAST), a model supporting Black caregivers in conversing with their children to reduce racial stress. An ecological systems approach conceptualizes discrimination at macro, meso, and micro levels of youths’ social systems.

Methods: The convenience sample consists of 15 youth and caregivers, recruited via community partners in low-income African American urban communities. The research design is a mixed methods, convergent design with qualitative and quantitative data gathered and analyzed concurrently.

Qualitative data gathered are:

  • Focus group interviews with youth and with caregivers (separately);
  • Individual interviews with youth and caregivers (separately);
  • Community forum discussion of findings to member-check and validate findings and contribute to theory.

Quantitative data gathered are:

  • Racial stress measures for youth and parents (UNREST, M. Williams)
  • Racial identity and esteem measures for youth
  • Attachment measure for youth
  • Parent self-perception of competence in caregiving role (MacPhee et al.)


Youth experience the most discriminatory practices by members outside of their immediate community, including politicians and media. Within their communities, they described insults, physical threats, and crimes against them by law enforcement, and racial insults from school staff. Caregivers regard discrimination as damaging and have substantial conversations with their children, including stories about Black persons who resisted discrimination, survival practices with police, and building youths’ pride and self-expressiveness.

Conclusions and Implications: Social work practice models need to incorporate Black families’ strategies for protecting youth from the harmful impacts of discrimination.