Racial Socialization of Biracial Youth: Maternal Messages and Approaches to Address Discrimination


University of Central Missouri, Child and Family Development, Lovinger Building, Room 4101, Warrensburg, MO 64093 (aarollin@gmail.com).


We explored how mothers of biracial youth prepare their children to navigate diverse racial ecologies and experiences of racism and discrimination. A qualitative thematic analysis was used to identify racial socialization messages mothers used and emergent racial socialization approaches. Mothers of biracial youth engaged in the full range of racial socialization discussed in the literature, including cultural, minority, self-development, egalitarian, and silent racial socialization. These messages varied by the biracial heritage of the youth, such that mothers of biracial youth with Black heritage were more likely to provide self-development racial socialization messages, whereas mothers of biracial youth without Black heritage were more likely to provide silent racial socialization. On the basis of the array of racial socialization messages mothers delivered, we identified three emergent approaches: promotive, protective, and passive racial socialization.