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The Influence of Skin Tone and Racial Socialization in the Lives of Black Children: A Mixed Methods Analysis

Dalhia D Lloyd, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The purpose of this study is to examine whether there is a relation between assigned skin tone and parental racial socialization, and how parents’ racial socialization influences children’s (ages 5-8) skin tone preference. The concurrent mixed methods design combined quantitative and qualitative findings to explore the complexity and role skin tones play in Black parents’ messages to their children. In the quantitative strand, 178 Black parents completed a survey and questionnaire. The qualitative strand consisted of ten parent-child dyads completing a parent-child task, followed by a one-on-one interview with the child and an interview with the parent. Quantitative findings revealed that parents who assigned a light skin tone to their children engaged in more specific types of racial socialization than those who assigned a darker skin tone to their children. Furthermore, skin tone moderated the relation between age and racial socialization for parents who assigned a medium or dark skin tone to their children. Analysis of qualitative interviews revealed children’s awareness of the social meaning of skin tones and parents’ unique messages based on assigned skin tone. Data from the two strands were integrated using a weaving approach that compared findings from both strands.

Subject Area

Early childhood education|Black studies|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Lloyd, Dalhia D, "The Influence of Skin Tone and Racial Socialization in the Lives of Black Children: A Mixed Methods Analysis" (2022). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI29168423.