Invisibility of Racial/Ethnic Minorities in Developmental Science: Implications for Research and Institutional Practices

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Abstract

García Coll et al.’s (1996) integrative model was a landmark article for developmental science, and for psychology more broadly, in outlining the multitude of social and cultural factors at play when seeking to understand the development of racial/ethnic minority children. The time is ripe to not only take stock of those advances but also evaluate the integrative model in the context of present-day research practice within developmental psychology, and psychology more broadly. The purpose of this article is to bring a systemic perspective to developmental science through a discussion of current practices in the field. To do so, we examine invisibility, or how dominant practices serve to overlook, silence, or dismiss knowledge produced by and for racial/ethnic minority populations. Guided by the interpretive framework of intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1991), we discuss three key questions: From whose vantage point is research conducted? What types of questions are valued? And who gets left out? We then conclude with recommendations for changes in practices for individuals, institutions, and the field at large. Importantly, although our analysis is largely grounded in research and practices in developmental psychology, it is also highly relevant to psychological science as a whole.

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