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Epigenetics: Applying Racial Literacy and Socialization with Dr. Howard Stevenson

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Streamed live on Jan 20, 2016

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Would Sandra Bland, Mike Brown, Travon Martin and others be alive today if they knew the language of Racial Socialization and Racial Literacy?

Dr. Howard Stevenson is the Constance Clayton Professor of Urban Education, Professor of Africana Studies, and former Chair of the Applied Psychology and Human Development Division in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. From 1994 to 2002, he was faculty master of the W. E. B. DuBois College House at Penn. In 1993, Dr. Stevenson received the W. T. Grant Foundation’s Faculty Scholar Award, a national research award given to only five researchers per year which funds five years of research. In 1994, Dr. Stevenson was a Presidential Fellow at the Salzburg Seminar in American Studies, where 35 other community activists and researchers from 30 countries to present their community health intervention projects. In 1995, Dr. Stevenson served on a 12-member academic panel to consult on the development of a National Strategic Action Plan for African-American Males, sponsored by the National Drug Control Policy Office in the Office of the President. Dr. Stevenson has served for 29 years as a clinical and consulting psychologist working in impoverished rural and urban neighborhoods across the country.

Research Interests and Current Projects

His research publications and clinical work involve developing culturally relevant "in-the-moment" strengths-based measures and therapeutic interventions that teach emotional and racial literacy skills to families and youth and have been funded by the W.T. Grant Foundation, Annenberg Foundation, and the National Institutes of Mental Health and Child Health and Human Development. Two NIMH research projects — one, entitled PLAAY (Preventing Long-term Anger and Aggression in Youth), found that the impact of a cultural socialization intervention reduced the rejection sensitivity of the PLAAY youth compared to a control group. The intervention involved the culturally relevant teaching of emotional empowerment through athletic movement in basketball (TEAM), self-control in martial arts (MAAR), cultural pride reinforcement in group therapy (CPR), and bonding in family interventions (Community Outreach through Parent Empowerment, or COPE) to help youth cope with face-to-face violence, social rejection, and stress in school and neighborhoods from peers, family, and authority figures. A modified version of PLAAY currently underway recruits girls and parents are taught to be assistant coaches to monitor and intervene with youth’s emotional challenges during play.

The second NIMH project, Success of African American Students (SAAS), identified the protective role of racial identity and racial socialization processes in the development of emotional coping strategies for African-American students and families in predominantly White independent schools. Currently, Dr. Stevenson is conducting a classroom-based racial negotiation skills-building intervention called Can We Talk? for teachers and students, to reduce negative stress reactions in student-teacher relationships. A third NICHD project partners Dr. Stevenson with Penn professors in Nursing and Arts and Sciences, Loretta and John Jemmott, and Christopher Coleman to co-lead the SHAPE-UP: Barbers Building Better Brothers Project. The SHAPE-UP Project trains Black barbers as health educators to provide HIV/AIDS/STDS safe sex and retaliation violence risk reduction and negotiation skills to Black heterosexual 18-24 year old males during haircut appointments.

Dr. Stevenson’s recently published book, Promoting Racial Literacy in Schools: Differences that Make a Difference (http://goo.gl/k0SNUj) focuses on how educators, community leaders, and parents can emotionally resolve face-to-face racially stressful encounters that reflect racial profiling in public spaces, fuel social conflicts in neighborhoods, and undermine student emotional well-being and academic achievement in the classroom.

LINKS:
Penn GSE https://goo.gl/thRMK7
THE PROTECTIVE POWER OF CULTURE http://goo.gl/neKXPM
Noted Penn GSE Researcher Howard Stevenson Investigates Racial Stress in Schools https://goo.gl/C5ZPDp
Penn Prof Helps Struggling Philadelphia Students http://goo.gl/Q258u2
What if My Trayvon Came Home? Protest without Protection, Affection, and Correction is Miseducation http://goo.gl/mVKawM
Can White Teachers Be Taught How to Teach Our Children? http://goo.gl/Gp4R1c


RELATED:
Epigenetics of Racism with Jane Elliott https://goo.gl/56YgRV
Epigenetics of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome (PTSS) with Dr. Joy DeGruy (Part 1-2) https://goo.gl/qMLUVA

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