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Racial Literacy

Racial Encounter Coping Appraisal Socialization Theory (RECAST) proposes that racial socialization’s biggest influence is in shielding the negative effects of racial hostility by building our confidence to recognize its impact and make healthy choices to resist, heal, and thrive. But racial socialization is only as useful as it is competent—hence, we have proposed the importance of racial socialization competency

Confidence, stress, and skills are three elements of racial socialization competency that constitute some of RECAST's theoretical contribution to the field of racial socialization. RECAST highlights the need for making RS processes more explicit so that recipients of RS can effectively resolve proximal encounters of racial rejection and access the healing and thriving that comes from cultural resources and legacy. Explicit and competent RS requires preparation and practice, and this is where racial literacy becomes important. 

Racial literacy is the ability to read, recast, and resolve racially stressful encounters. Reading involves noticing the impact (positive, negative, neutral) of these encounters on your mind, body, and emotions. Recasting involves shifting your threat interpretation of the encounter from impossible to manageable. Resolving is not under-reacting or over-reacting to the encounter so you can make healthy decisions that prevent future rumination and harm. 

Racial literacy is about increasing interoceptive awareness (“seeing yourself be yourself”) while under pressure to mimic the conditions of a hateful experience. It’s about how individuals, families, and communities can shield the negative stress effects of proximal and systemic racial micro- and macro-aggressions through preparation and practice