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Racial literacy

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Title: Racial literacy  
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Subject: Post literacy, Information and media literacy, Ecological literacy, Scientific literacy, Literacy in India
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Racial literacy

Racial Literacy is a concept developed by sociologist France Winddance Twine. She describes it as "a form of racial socialization and antiracist training that...parents of African-descent children practiced in their efforts to defend their children against racism" in her research done in the United Kingdom with mixed race families. She further describes it as "cultural strategies and practices designed and employed by parents to teach children of African and Caribbean heritage to (1) detect, document, and name antiblack racist ideologies, semiotics, and practices; (2) provide discursive resources that counter racism; and (3) provide aesthetic and material resources (including art, toys, books, music) that valorize and strengthen their connections to the transatlantic culture of black people in Africa, the Caribbean and the United States". [1] Twine's concept of racial literacy is to be distinguished from the term 'race literacy' as conceptualized by Lani Guinier, a professor of law and critical race scholar at Harvard. The concept of racial literacy as conceptualized by Twine refers to a set of practices designed by parents and others to teach their children how to recognize, respond to and counter forms of everyday racism. The emphasis here is on teaching children as well as adults how to identify routine forms of racism and to develop strategies for countering it and coping with it.


  • 1999a. Bearing Blackness in Britain: the meaning of racial difference for white birth mothers of African-descent children, in Social Identities: Journal of Race, Nation and Culture, Vol. 5, no.2 (1999) :185-210.
  • 1999b. Transracial Mothering and Antiracism: The Case of White Birth Mothers of 'Black' Children in Britain." Feminist Studies 25, no. 3 (FAll): 729-46.
  • 2003. Racial Literary in Britain: Antiracist Projects, Black Children and White Parents, in Contours: A Journal of the African Diaspora, Vol, 1, nO. 2 (Fall 2003): 129-153.
  • A White Side of Black Britain: The Concept of Racial Literacy, in Ethnic and Racial Studies, (a special issue on racial hierarchy) vol. 27, no. 6 (November 2004): 1-30.
  • Guiner, L. (2004). From racial liberalism to racial literacy: Brown v. Board of Education and the interest-divergence dilemma, Journal of American History, 91(1), 92-118.
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