Critical Consciousness

Critical Consciousness and School Racial Climate

My work in school racial climate has informed the emerging study of critical consciousness in adolescents of color by articulating how school contexts can support the development of youths’ understanding of inequality in society. In particular, I have examined how school critical consciousness socialization and color-evasive socialization are related to adolescents’ critical reflection and critical action.


Bañales, J., Mathews, C. J., Channey, J., Pinetta, B. J., Byrd, C. M., & Wang, M. T. (2024). A preliminary investigation of longitudinal associations between ethnic–racial identity and critical consciousness among Black and Latinx youth. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. (full text)

Gale, A., Johnson, N. C., Golden, A., Channey, J., Marchand, A. D., Anyiwo, N., & Byrd, C. M. (2023). Reflecting on change: Critical consciousness as a protective factor for Black youth. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.

Kubi, G., Byrd, C. M., & Diemer, M. (2022). School ethnic-racial socialization and critical action among Black youth. Frontiers in Education. (html)

Golden, A. R., & Byrd, C. M. (2022). Examining critical reflection as a mediator between school racial climate experiences and anti‐racist action. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 32 (3), 1109-1119. (PDF)

Byrd, C. M. (2022) Creating a climate for critical consciousness: Sounding Out: Contextual Analysis. In H. Fives & N. Barnes, Eds. Educational Psychology and Transformational Classrooms. (pp. 77–84). Routledge. (PDF)

Byrd, C.M., & Ahn, L.H. (2020). Profiles of ethnic‐racial socialization from family, school, neighborhood, and the Internet: Relations to adolescent outcomes. Journal of Community Psychology,1–22. DOI: 10.1002/jcop.22393. (Full text)

Storytelling and Critical Positive Youth Development

Through our work with #PassTheMicYouth, PassTheMic Camp, and TEDxYouth@Chavis Way, I help young people tell their stories that raise awareness and inspire positive change in their communities. Our work is based on a model of critical positive youth development and positions critical consciousness as integral to healthy socioemotional development.

Gonzalez, M., Kokozos, M., McKee, K., & Byrd, C. (book under contract) Teaching Storytelling in Classrooms and Communities: Amplifying Student Voices and Inspiring Social Change. Routledge.

Gonzalez, M., Kokozos, M., McKee, K., & Byrd, C. (in press). Storytelling through a Critical Positive Youth Development framework: A mixed methods approach. Journal of Youth Development.

Gonzalez, M., Kokozos, M., Nyota, N., & Byrd, C. (2023). Youth storytelling for social change: Guiding questions for effective and ethical delivery. The Journal of Extension, 61(3).

Gonzalez, M., Kokozos, M., Byrd, C.M., McKee, K.E. (2020). Critical Positive Youth Development: A framework for centering critical consciousness. Journal of Youth Development, 15. DOI: 10.5195/jyd.2020.859 (Full text)

Teaching about Identities, Diversity, and Equity (TIDE)

I am also interested in students’ experiences in curricular/co-curricular diversity experiences. These are structured and programmatic efforts to help students engage with diversity, including ethnic studies and women’s studies courses, racial/cultural awareness workshops and events, identity-based student organizations, cultural centers, living-learning communities, and service-learning programs.

My research team is developing a framework based on theories of self-regulated learning that explains why college and graduate students are motivated to engage in these activities and what individual and contextual factors promote their sustained engagement even when the material is challenging. Our goal is to identify practices that instructors and social justice educators can use to maximize student learning and growth. I also teach a course on facilitating diversity experiences in the spring in the College of Education (ECI 709).

Byrd, C.M. (2023). Cycles of development in learning about identities, diversity, and equity. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 29, 43–52. (PDF)

Byrd, C.M., Rastogi, R., & Elliot, E.R. (2020). Engagement with diversity experiences: A self-regulated learning perspective. In L. Parson & C. C. Ozaki (Eds), Teaching and Learning for Social Justice and Equity in Higher Education: Foundations. Palgrave Macmillan. (PDF)

Byrd, C.M. (2020). Teaching about Identities, Diversity, and Equity. Poster presented at NC State Teaching and Learning Symposium (PDF)