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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

Collins, J. A., & Stevenson, H. C. (2023). Racial climate reform in independent schools: How coping self-efficacy buffers systemic and proximal racial stress for students of color. Psychology in the Schools. Advance online publication. 

Jemmott, L. S., Jemmott, J. B., Stevenson, H. C., & Chittamuru, D. (2023). Barber-led HIV/sexually transmitted infection risk reduction for young African-American men: Efficacy and mediation in a cluster randomized controlled trial. Journal of Adolescent Health, 72(4), 575–582.

Kiang, L., Chan, M., Lassiter, R. A., Christophe, N. K., Stein, G. L., Jones, S. C. T., Stevenson, H. C., & Anderson, R. E. (2023). Ethnic-racial identity and socialization competency: How minoritized parents “Walk the Talk”. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.

Kiang, L., Chan, M., Lassiter, R. A., Christophe, N. K., Stein, G. L., Jones, S. C. T., Stevenson, H. C., & Anderson, R. E. (2022). The silver linings of COVID-19 and racism pandemics? Asian American Journal of Psychology. Advance online publication -

Christophe, N. Keita, Stein, G. L., Kiang, L., Johnson, N. C., Jones, S. C. T., Stevenson, H. C., Anyiwo, N. and Anderson, R. E. (2022). A 21st century take on racial-ethnic socialization: Patterns of competency and content among diverse parents of color. Social Sciences, 11: 88.

Jones, S. C. T., Anderson, R. E., & Stevenson, H.C. (2021). Not the same old song and dance: Viewing racial socialization through a family systems lens to resist racial trauma. Adversity and Resilience Science, 2, 225-233.

Stevenson, H. C., Jemmott, L. S., Jemmott, J. B., Icard, L., White, S. L., Talley, L. M., Chittamuru, D., Kim, S. & O'Leary, A. (2021). Shape-up: Efficacy of a culturally responsive barbershop-based violence reduction intervention RCT for young black men. Psychology of Men & Masculinities, 22(4), 579-591.

Jones, S. C. T., Anderson, R. E., & Stevenson, H. C. (2021). Differentiating competency from content: Parental racial socialization profiles and their associated factors. Family Process, 1-17.

Anderson, R. E., Jones, S. C. T., Saleem, F., Anyiwo, N., Bless, K., Nisbeth, K., Resnicow, K. & Stevenson, H. C. (2021). Interrupting the pathway from discrimination to black adolescents’ psychosocial outcomes: The contribution of parental racial worries and racial socialization competency, Child Development, 92, (6), 2275-2394.

Coleman-King, C. C., Adams-Bass, V. N., Bentley-Edwards, K., Thomas, D., Thompson, C., Michael, A., Miller, G., Charity-Parker, B., & Stevenson, H. C. (2021). Got skillz? Recasting and negotiating racial tension in teacher–student relationships amidst shifting demographics. Social Sciences, 10 (3), 99-109.

Morris, T. & Stevenson, H. C. (2020). Building up: The influence of career sponsorship on the advancement of female heads of color in independent schools. Independent School Magazine, Fall, 86-93.

Bentley-Edwards, K. L., Stevenson, H. C., Thomas, D. E., Adams-Bass, V. N., & Coleman-King, C. C. (2020). Teaching scared: Pre-service TFA teacher appraisals of racial stress, socialization and classroom management self-efficacy. Social Psychology of Education, 23, 1223-1257. doi: 10.1007/s11218-020-09578-8.

Anderson, R. E., Jones, S. C. T., & Stevenson, H. C. (2020). The initial development and validation of the Racial Socialization Competency Scale: Quality and quantity. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 26(4), 426–436.

Anderson, R. E. & Stevenson, H. C. (2019) RECASTing racial stress and trauma: Theorizing the healing potential of racial socialization in African American families.  American Psychologist, 74, 1, 63-75. .

Slaughter-Acey, J. C., Talley, L. M., Stevenson, H. C., & Misra, D. P. (2018). Personal versus group experiences of racism and risk of delivering a small-for-gestational Age infant in African American women: A life course perspective. Journal of Urban Health, 1-12. doi: 10.1007/s11524-018-0291-1.

Anderson, R. E, Jones, S. C. T., Navarro, C. C., Mckenny, M. C., Mehta, T., Stevenson, H. C. (2018). Addressing the mental health needs of Black American youth and families: A case study from the EMBRace intervention. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(5), 898,

Baker, J. L., Stevenson, H. C., Talley, L. M., Jemmott, L. S., Jemmott, J. B. (2018). Development of a barbershop-based racial socialization violence intervention for young Black emerging adult men. Journal of Community Psychology, 46, (4), 1-13.

Anderson, R. W., McKenny, M., Mitchell, A., Koku, L., & Stevenson, H. (2018). EMBRacing racial stress and trauma: Preliminary feasibility and coping outcomes of a racial socialization intervention. Journal of Black Psychology, 44, (1), 25-46.

Stevenson, H. C. (2017). Raisins in the sun: White teacher as a force of nature buffering the radiation of racial retaliation. In E. Moore, A. Michael, & M. Penick-Parks (Eds.), The guide for white women who teach black boys. Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, CA.

Stevenson, H. C. (2017). “Dueling Narratives”: Racial socialization and literacy as triggers for re-humanizing African American boys, young men and their families. In L. M. Burton, D. Burton, S. M. McHale, V. King, & J. Van Hook (Eds), Boys and Men in African American Families, Vol 7. 55-84. National Symposium on Family Issues. DOI: 10.2007/978-3-319-43847-4_5.

Bartoli, E., Michael, A., Bentley-Edwards, K. L., Stevenson, H. C., Shor, R., & McClain, S. (2016). Training for colorblindness: White racial socialization. Whiteness and Education, 1. 125-136.

Bentley-Edwards, K., & Stevenson, H. C. (2016). The Multidimensionality of Racial/Ethnic Socialization: Scale construction for the cultural and racial experiences of socialization (CARES). Journal of Child and Family Studies, 1-13. doi: 10.1007/s10826-015-0214-7. 

Burton, L. M., Winn, D-M., Stevenson, H., & McKinney, M. (2015). Childhood adultification and the paradox of parenting: Perspectives on African American boys in economically disadvantaged families. In J. Arditti (Ed.), Family problems: Stress, risk, and resilience (pp. 167-182). West Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley.

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)