Traditionally, African American grandparents have played a critical role in the caretaking responsibilities of their grandchildren. This has allowed their adult children to be able to pursue educational and employment opportunities. However, how the consequences of mass incarceration on the African American family system extend beyond the incarcerated individual into the lives of their children and the grandparents left to care for them are little discussed.
Witnessing or experiencing race-related trauma damages the psychological wellbeing of minority youth. African American, American Indian, and Latino youth not only encounter race-related trauma in their neighborhoods but also in school. Schools should be a safe space for all children, but some disturbing data prove otherwise.