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Promoting Racial Literacy in Schools

Based on extensive research, this provocative volume explores how schools are places where racial conflicts often remain hidden at the expense of a healthy school climate and the well-being of students of color. Most schools fail to act on racial microaggressions because the stress of negotiating such conflicts is extremely high due to fears of incompetence, public exposure, and accusation. Instead of facing these conflicts head on, schools perpetuate a set of avoidance or coping strategies. The author of this much-needed book uncovers how racial stress undermines student achievement. Students, educators, and social service support staff will find workable strategies to improve their racial literacy skills to read, recast, and resolve racially stressful encounters when they happen.

Book Features:
  • A model that applies culturally relevant behavioral stress management strategies to problem solve racial stress in schools.
  • Examples demonstrating workable solutions relevant within predominantly White schools for students, parents, teachers, and administrators.
  • Measurable outcomes and strategies for developing racial literacy skills that can be integrated into the K–12 curriculum and teacher professional development.
  • Teaching and leadership skills that will create a more tolerant and supportive school environment for all students.

“Once more, Howard Stevenson has provided a blueprint of critical importance to policymakers, practitioners, teachers, and parents!”
Margaret Beale Spencer, Marshall Field IV Professor of Urban Education and professor of Life Course Human Development, University of Chicago

Playing with Anger

This volume presents unique, culturally relevant interventions that can teach coping skills to African American boys with a history of aggression. Stevenson provides the history and current events for readers to understand why these youths perceive violence as the only way to react. Interventions and preventative actions developed in the PLAAY project (Preventing Long-Term Anger and Aggression) are presented. These include teaching coping skills and anger management via athletics such as basketball and martial arts. Frustrations and strengths in those athletics illuminate the players' emotional lives, and serve as a basis for self-understanding and life skill development.

Gettin’ With, Stickin’ To, And Watchin’ Over

Stickin' To, Watchin' Over, and Gettin' With provides the guidance you need to protect your children from racist hostility while at the same time teaching them character and responsibility. Just as important, the book also shows how to discipline your children in a way that does not rely on spanking or other forms of painful coercion. Written by three African American educators, counselors, and parents, this book outlines an effective program for raising and disciplining your children.

Selected Articles

Stevenson, H. (n.d.). What if my Trayvon came home? Protest without protection, affection, and correction is miseducation [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Stevenson, H. (Spring, 2015). Hearing the Lion’s Story. Teaching Tolerance. 49: 28-30.

Coleman, S. & Stevenson, H.C. (Summer, 2014). Engaging the racial elephant: how leadership on racial literacy improves schools. Independent School Magazine. 73(4).

Arrington, E.G., Hall, D.M., & Stevenson, H.C. (Summer, 2003). The success of African-American students in independent schoolsIndependent School Magazine. 62: 10-21.


The Moriah Group: Boys & Young Men of Color: Facing Trauma, Finding Healing and Wellbeing, December 13, 2016 (webinar and PowerPoint)

In Education Today: Discussion of Hate Speech in Our Schools, December 7, 2016 (interview)

AERA Ed-Talk: Reducing Racial Threat, February 18, 2016 (video)

The Philippe Matthews Show: Epigenetics: Applying Racial Literacy and Socialization with Dr. Howard Stevenson, January 20, 2016 (video interview)

Promoting Racial Literacy in Schools by Dr. Howard C. Stevenson, December 16, 2015  (video)

Teaching Tolerance: A Conversation with Howard Stevenson, November 13, 2014 (video interview)

Penn GSE EdCasts: Young black males: anger, aggression, and perception, October 20, 2010 (video)

SEL & Equity with Dr. Robert Jagers, Dorothy Espelage, Anne Gregory, Deborah Rivas-Drake, and Howard Stevenson (webinar)