Preventing racism and promoting social justice: person-centered and environment-centered interventions

J Prim Prev. 2009 Jan;30(1):43-59. doi: 10.1007/s10935-008-0161-9. Epub 2008 Dec 9.


This paper proposes that prevention of racism is a social justice issue in light of the pervasively detrimental effects of racism on all members of our society and the especially traumatizing effects for people of color. Review of contact theory and its extensions provides the theoretical background for person-focused prevention strategies. Specifically, the paper describes a model primary prevention program to address the development of racist attitudes and beliefs in White children as a way of stopping future racist traumatization of people of color. Advocating for public policy changes is discussed as a valuable environment-centered prevention tool in working toward social justice. Implications for training incorporating multicultural counseling competencies, critical psychology, prevention science, and advocacy are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Consumer Advocacy*
  • Humans
  • Illinois
  • Prejudice*
  • Public Policy*
  • Social Justice*
  • United States