Barriers and Opportunities for White Parents to Discuss Race and Racism With Their Children

July 18, 2023 11:00am - 12:30pm
$31 for NCFR student members / $52 for NCFR members & CFLEs / $94 for nonmembers & non-CFLEs / Become a member
Durrant et al.
Presenters: (from left) Durrant, Kerr, Su-Russell

Children learn about race from what they hear and observe from family members, friends, and others in their communities. Children might not learn, though, about the harmful effects of racism increasing the likelihood of misinformed and stereotypical views. To promote discussions between White parents and their White or multiracial children about race and racism, the presenters will share information about children’s ability to understand race, including developmental milestones, and the benefits of having a discussion about racism with their children. Specifically, this webinar will focus on racial socialization practices among White families, or White parents raising multiracial children.

Attendees will learn about emerging research on barriers that White parents face in starting conversations about race and racism, and potential ways to help families overcome those barriers to engage in productive conversations. Evidence shared will include information about how parents have discussed race and racism, factors that promote and hinder these conversations, and intervention initiatives that support parents engaging in these discussions. An opportunity will then be provided to discuss how the findings can promote practices that help children understand, respect, and appreciate differences between people.

By the end of this webinar, attendees will be able to:  

  • Articulate the importance of discussing race and racism with White and multiracial children,
  • Provide White parents with skills to overcome the barriers of providing positive racial socialization with their White and multiracial children, and
  • Support discussions between White parents and their White and multiracial children about race and racism.

Approved for 1.5 hours of CFLE continuing education credit.

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About the Presenters

Lorna Durrant, Ph.D., CFLE, is an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. She is the director for the child and family studies program within the School of Education. She has conducted research and given presentations related to the racial socialization of children.  

Margaret L. Kerr, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of human development & family studies and an Extension state specialist in vulnerable and underserved children at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her work is centered around parents’ emotional experiences and promoting family resiliency through developing and implementing parent-focused programs and interventions, including a program that helps white parents discuss race and racism with their children. 

Chang Su-Russell, Ph.D., CFLE, is an assistant professor of family and consumer sciences at Illinois State University. Her research focuses on parents’ socialization processes and the contextual factors that influence these processes. She has worked with colleagues and students on projects that explored how parents of young children discussed race, death, and the pandemic. She is currently serving as the chair of NCFR's Asian/Asian American Families Focus Group and the communications specialist for NCFR's Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Families Section.  


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