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      When Societal Norms and Social Identity Collide : The Race Talk Dilemma for Racial Minority Children

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      Social Psychological and Personality Science
      SAGE Publications

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          Abstract

          <p class="first" id="P1">Racial minorities face a unique “race talk” dilemma in contemporary American society: their racial background is often integral to their identity and how others perceive them, yet talk of race is taboo. This dilemma highlights the conflict between two fundamental social processes: social identity development and social norm adherence. To examine how, and with what costs, this dilemma is resolved, 9–12-year-old Latino, Asian, Black, and White children ( <i>n</i>=108) completed a photo identification task in which acknowledging racial difference is beneficial to performance. Results indicate minority children are just as likely to avoid race as White children, and such avoidance exacted a cost to performance and nonverbal comfort. Results suggest that teachers are particularly important social referents for instilling norms regarding race. Norms that equate colorblindness with socially appropriate behavior appear more broadly influential than previously thought, stifling talk of race even among those for whom it may be most meaningful. </p>

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          Most cited references33

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          The influence of ethnic discrimination and ethnic identification on African American adolescents' school and socioemotional adjustment.

          Do experiences with racial discrimination at school predict changes in African American adolescents' academic and psychological functioning? Does African American ethnic identity buffer these relations? This paper addresses these two questions using two waves of data from a longitudinal study of an economically diverse sample of African American adolescents living in and near a major East Coast metropolis. The data were collected at the beginning of the 7th grade and after the completion of the 8th grade. As expected, experiences of racial discrimination at school from one's teachers and peers predicts declines in grades, academic ability self-concepts, academic task values, mental health (increases in depression and anger, decreases in self-esteem and psychological resiliency), and increases in the proportion of one's friends who are not interested in school and who have problem behaviors. A strong, positive connection to one's ethnic group (our measure of ethnic identity) reduced the magnitude of the association of racial discrimination experiences with declines in academic self-concepts, school achievement, and perception of friends' positive characteristics, as well as the association of the racial discrimination experiences with increases in problem behaviors.
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            Race and gender on the brain: electrocortical measures of attention to the race and gender of multiply categorizable individuals.

            The degree to which perceivers automatically attend to and encode social category information was investigated. Event-related brain potentials were used to assess attentional and working-memory processes on-line as participants were presented with pictures of Black and White males and females. The authors found that attention was preferentially directed to Black targets very early in processing (by about 100 ms after stimulus onset) in both experiments. Attention to gender also emerged early but occurred about 50 ms later than attention to race. Later working-memory processes were sensitive to more complex relations between the group memberships of a target individual and the surrounding social context. These working-memory processes were sensitive to both the explicit categorization task participants were performing as well as more implicit, task-irrelevant categorization dimensions. Results are consistent with models suggesting that information about certain category dimensions is encoded relatively automatically.
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              Lower level mediation in multilevel models.

              Multilevel models are increasingly used to estimate models for hierarchical and repeated measures data. The authors discuss a model in which there is mediation at the lower level and the mediational links vary randomly across upper level units. One repeated measures example is a case in which a person's daily stressors affect his or her coping efforts, which affect his or her mood, and both links vary randomly across persons. Where there is mediation at the lower level and the mediational links vary randomly across upper level units, the formulas for the indirect effect and its standard error must be modified to include the covariance between the random effects. Because no standard method can estimate such a model, the authors developed an ad hoc method that is illustrated with real and simulated data. Limitations of this method and characteristics of an ideal method are discussed.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Social Psychological and Personality Science
                Social Psychological and Personality Science
                SAGE Publications
                1948-5506
                1948-5514
                July 08 2015
                August 07 2015
                : 6
                : 8
                : 887-895
                Article
                10.1177/1948550615598379
                4629255
                26543521
                5b6fabc4-dbdc-489c-b953-9cd222e496c6
                © 2015

                http://journals.sagepub.com/page/policies/text-and-data-mining-license

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