It is imperative that you share black history with your children because it really pays off in the longterm. New research shows that when parents engage their children in activities that promote feelings of racial knowledge, pride, and connection, it offsets racial discrimination’s potentially negative impact on students’ academic development.
“Our findings challenge the notion that ‘race blindness’ is a universally ideal parenting approach, especially since previous research has shown that racially conscious parenting strategies at either extreme—either ‘race blindness’ or promoting mistrust of other races—are associated with negative outcomes for African American youth,” says lead author of the study and assistant professor of psychology in education at the University of Pittsburgh, Ming-Te Wäng. Wäng co-authored the study with Harvard University’s James P. Huguley. “When African American parents instill a proud, informed, and sober perspective of race in their sons and daughters, these children are more likely to experience increased academic success,” says Wäng.
Scholarly research has shown that African American students, especially males, are at risk of being unfairly disciplined, being discouraged from taking advanced classes, or receiving lower grades than they deserved, solely due to their race. Other studies point to negative peer treatment because of race — fist fighting, being bullied, or not being selected for teams or activities. The research may be a telling factor in explaining why 53 percent of the dozen four- and five-year-olds — who were suspended from NYC schools — were African American.
“Our study provides empirical evidence that the longstanding practice in the African American community of cultivating racial pride and preparing children to face racial bias in society should be considered among appropriate and beneficial practices in parenting Black children,” says Wäng, who plans to conduct the same kind of research with Latino and Asian American teenagers.