Better to Act than to Deny
by James Coyle on November 13, 2016 - 11:15pm
Caughy, O'Campo and Muntaner’s (2004) study examined the relationship between African American parents who have experienced racism and the mental health of their children of pre-school age. The main hypothesis of the study was that parents who self-reported experiences of racism would have an effect on the development of their children socioemotionally through the effects of their strategies of racial socialization. The participants of this study were predominately African American, but the study also included European Americans as well as mixed race people. The study examined parents who self-reported racism, but also parents who did not report any experiences of racism, because a previous study has suggested that at least 90% of African Americans who report no racism have in fact experienced racism, and this denial can also have negative consequences on physical and mental health. The study also examined the children of the parents included in the study. The study examined many different variables, most importantly race, gender, denial of experiences of racism among parents, self-reporting of experiences of racism among parents, responses to racism, and behavioral problems among children. In order to better understand the situations of respondents, many other variables were also examined, such as education level, poverty status, average household income, demographic of the neighborhood, as well as neighborhood crime levels. The hypothesis of the study was essentially confirmed, parents who reported experiences of racism did have an effect on their children. More precisely, parents who actively behaved in response to racism were associated with lower rates of children exhibiting behavioral problems than parents who denied experiencing racism altogether. There was also found to be a negative relationship between active behavior in response to racism and depression or anxiety in children. The authors concluded by stating that reporting experiences of racism and responding with active behavior in face of racism had significantly better outcomes for children than denying experiences of racism.
This article is powerful in that it demonstrates the malicious effects that parents denying racism has on their children. It is shown empirically in this article that children whose parents deny experiences of racism have a higher rate of behavioral problems as well as anxiety and depression. To contrast, parents who actively respond to racism have a much more positive effect on their children. The study demonstrated that parents who took an active response to racism had children who were less likely to exhibit behavioral problems. This article is inspiring in a way because it demonstrates that we should not turn our heads or let racism go unnoticed. Just admitting that racism exists has a positive impact on children, and taking a stand against it has an even better impact on them. I think that this study in some ways can relate to a major theme in our class, which is the reality of racism. This article demonstrates that accepting that racism is a real thing can have a positive effect on future generations.
Margaret O'Brien Caughy, O'Campo, P.,J., & Muntaner, C. (2004). Experiences of racism among african american parents and the mental health of their preschool-aged children. American Journal of Public Health, 94(12), 2118-24. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.champlaincollege.qc.ca/login?url=http://search.proquest.c...