Ethnic socialization is key element of a minority family’s education in a multinational state, and it has an important influence on the ethnic attitude development of adolescents. Perceived ethnic socialization refers to the minority child’s understanding of information, and consists of cultural socialization, preparation for bias, promotion of mistrust, etc. Essentially, this is what their parents transmit to them regarding ethnicity. Research in this field is based on the work of American psychologists, and the methods focus primarily on cross-sectional self-reporting. Few researchers have examined the ethnic socialization of ethnic Chinese minorities through empirical study.
In study 1, 464 students from the Jingpo minority community in Yunnan Province completed a questionnaire that illuminated a perceived ethnic socialization scale (Chinese revision). Another 159 junior high school students took part in an open-ended questions survey to collect conflicting stories and biases. Study 2 was a situation-experiment designed to simulate conflict contexts with bias or non-bias between Jingpo students and Dai students, and explored ethnic socialization message-transmission after experiencing contextual simulation for 335 Jingpo junior high school students. Experiment 3 examined ethnic socialization messages by using story completion tasks, and was completed by 119 Jingpo junior high school students.
Results indicated that Jingpo junior high students perceived four types of ethnic socialization messages: cultural socialization, promotion of mistrust, preparation for bias and the promotion of harmony (which is significantly different). As a percentage, “promotion of harmony” was reported as significantly higher than “cultural socialization” and “preparation for bias”; the least reported was “promotion of mistrust”. There was a significant difference evident between simulating contexts with bias versus non-biased clues in preparation for bias. Genders also tested differently: girls reported more information about “promotion of harmony”, and boys “preparation of bias”. The neighborhood’s ethnic composition seemed to show no significant difference.
Cultural differences exist in adolescent ethnic socialization and, in contrast to American’s ethnic minority youths perception that their mothers lay particular stress on the “transmission of cultural socialization and preparation for bias”, Jingpo junior high school students perceive their mothers as putting particular stress on the “promotion of harmony”.