Evidence is accumulating that interpersonal racial discrimination is criminogenic and ethnic-racial socialization (ERS) practices provide resilience. This research, however, has largely focused on black males. We address this gap by exploring these risk and resilience processes among black females. Drawing on Simons and Burt’s social schematic theory and research on adaptive cultural practices in African American families, this study investigates how interpersonal racial discrimination increases the risks of crime among females and whether familial ERS provides resilience. After focusing on females, we also compare the findings among females to those for males to shed light on gender differences. We examine these questions using panel data from the Family and Community Health Study, a survey of black families first surveyed in 1999 and at roughly two-year intervals thereafter. Consistent with prior work, we find a strong effect of racial discrimination on an increase in crime, with the bulk of this effect being mediated by the criminogenic knowledge structure. Although one of the two forms of ERS examined—cultural socialization—did not reduce the criminogenic effects of racial discrimination, preparation for bias exerted a strong protective effect. Comparing the findings to that for males revealed that preparation for bias attenuated the criminogenic effects of racial discrimination for both males and females, but it did so in gendered ways. This study fills a gap in our understanding of the criminogenic effects of discrimination among black females, supporting a social schematic theory’s explanation of the effects of racial discrimination on crime. In addition, findings highlight protective cultural practices in African American families, especially preparation for bias.
- ethnic-racial socialization
- racial discrimination
- social schemas
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine