In the article “Black Lives Matter as resistance to systemic anti-black violence,” Dominique Thomas (2019) makes extensive use of previous research. Among other sources, the author quotes the article by Thomas and Blackmon (2015). While Thomas (2019) recognizes the central message of the article correctly, it is still misinterpreted in a significant way.
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The author quotes Thomas and Blackmon (2015) in support of the notion that the killings of unarmed African Americans affect the socialization patterns of black parents. The actual quote is: “Black parents have to shift and adjust their socialization in response to killings of unarmed black people” (Thomas, 2019, p. 42). This notion is indeed the central point of Thomas and Blackmon (2015), who argue that socialization practices of African American parents were “influenced by the shooting” of Trayvon Martin (p. 85). Hence, Thomas (2019) is right to quote the article in support of the notion that shootings influence parental socialization of black parents.
However, the specific interpretation of Thomas and Blackmon’s (2015) text is still inaccurate. The author opines that black parents “shift and adjust” socialization practices in response to shootings (Thomas, 2019, p. 42). However, Thomas and Blackmon (2015) do not claim that such a shift occurs – on the contrary, they emphasize that “African American parents have consistently taught children about the presence of racism,” and this tendency stays prevalent (p. 85).
According to them, the impact of shootings on black parents is not shifting and changing socialization practices, but perceiving them as more important due to the “possibility of violence and death” (Thomas & Blackmon, 2015, p. 84). Therefore, Thomas’s (2019) interpretation of Thomas and Blackmon’s (2015) article appears inaccurate.
To summarize, Thomas’s (2019) use of the article by Thomas and Blackmon (2015) is imperfect. The author recognizes its primary point – the idea that shootings of unarmed blacks influence socialization practices of African American parents – correctly. However, he represents this impact as a change in socialization practices, while Thomas and Blackmon (2015) stress that the practices stay essentially the same, and the shootings affect their perceived importance rather than substance.
Thomas, D. (2019). Black Lives Matter as resistance to systemic anti-black violence. Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis, 8(1), 30-45.
Thomas, M. J., & Blackmon, S. M. (2015). The influence of the Trayvon Martin shooting on racial socialization practices of African American parents. Journal of Black Psychology, 41(1), 75-89.
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