In the wake of the renewed sense of powerlessness felt in the Black community, "The Talk" (Snell,2016) is primarily considered an essential rite of passage in Black families in preparing Black children how to engage with police when faced with microaggressions of racism. The awareness that the rules are different based on the color of your skin reinforces the narrative that for Blacks, most will face law enforcement that functions to protect and serve Whiteness (Burton, 2015). The purpose of this research was to examine the cultural significance of Racial Socialization and the use of "The Talk" within the Black family as a tool to address the effects of systemic racism within law enforcement. specifically, interactions between Black youth and the police. Through the lens of critical race theory, racial socialization, and discourse analysis, the research will answer (1) In what ways is Black socialized racial behavior demonstrated by Blacks when interacting with law enforcement? (2) What is the cultural significance of "The Talk" within the Black Family? (3) Is it time for "The Talk" to move from being pre-emptive to a solution-based tool? Through qualitative research, specific constructs and attributes of each theory will be used to interpret meanings, concepts, behaviors, and attitudes of awareness on the use of The Talk and how the social capital of the Black family, Black socialization of racial behavior, the impact of gender and race and exposure to racism influence these interpretations. Participants of the study included: Black parents of Black children, Black children ages 10-17, and Black adult drivers. The current research addresses the need for the use of The Talk as a pre-emptive tool to address crucial issues of racism and discrimination between the Black community and law enforcement. In addition, this study has expanded on the current research and focused on the more difficult question of why the use of "The Talk" has not moved into a more solution-based versus a pre-emptive response. As a solution-based response, The Talk is guided by how to stop, not just anticipate, and mitigate, these problems—shifting the focus to finding solutions to eliminate the perceived threat felt by both the police and Blacks from each other. Further questioning: If "The Talks" fails to shift into a more solution-based response, will it become the catalyst of the same evils "The Talk" was created to avoid?
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Griffith, Deborah, "The Cultural Significance of Racial Socialization and "The Talk" Within the Black Family" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1378.