MSU HDFS Dr. Linda Halgunseth co-edits special series on dismantling racism and oppression

Linda Halgunseth

By Katie Nicpon

Linda Halgunseth, Ph.D., associate professor in MSU Department of Human Development and Family Studies co-edited a 4-part, special series for the Journal of Research on Adolescence (JRA) on dismantling racism and oppression. She was co-editor for each of the sections, and lead editor for the special issue: “Truth is on the side of the oppressed: Systems of oppression affecting BIPOC youth.” The term BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous and people of color. 

“Concerned with the widespread impact of racism, white supremacy, and other systems of oppression on the lives of adolescents, myself and three associate editors of the Journal of Research on Adolescence joined together and proposed a special series to JRA focused on research examining systems perpetuating racism and other forms of oppression for historically minoritized adolescents,” Dr. Halgunseth said.

The unprecedented, four-part series consisted of two full special issues: (1) Black Lives Matter! Systems of Oppression Affecting Black Youth which was released in March 2022; and (2) Truth is on the Side of the Oppressed: Systems of Oppression Affecting BIPOC Youth, which was released in June 2022.  The series also included two special sections, both of them released in September 2022 issue: (3) Oppression is as American as Apple Pie: Learning about and Confronting Whiteness, Privilege, and Oppression; and (4) Good Trouble, Necessary Trouble: Dismantling Oppression through Resistance and Activism.

“The field of developmental science should increase scholarship on dismantling systems that are the root causes of oppression for historically minoritized youth,” she said. 

She believes an important take-away from the special series is the importance for developmental scientists to study whiteness “as the root cause of systemic racism in our society” (Halgunseth, Witherspoon, & Wray-Lake, 2022, p. 395), and in particular, how white racial attitudes and white privilege are learned and perpetuated by adolescents.

“Relatively few developmental scholars directly study whiteness, unlike other fields such as counseling and sociology,” she said. “To dismantle oppression, the field of developmental science must attend more to the study and deconstruction of whiteness, and how it is learned and perpetuated by adolescents.”

Dr. Halgunseth co-edited the series with Dr. Dawn Witherspoon from Penn State University and Dr.  Laura Wray-Lake from UCLA. 

“I feel proud to be a co-editor on this unprecedented four-part series on interrogating and dismantling systems of racism and oppression for historically minoritized youth. It is important to examine root causes and systems perpetuating racism and systems of oppression so that not only historically minoritized youth but all youth can develop in healthy and promotive environments.”

In the December 2022 JRA issue, Halgunseth and her co-editors will be publishing an article that provides important directions for anti-racist research based on what they learned from editing the 4-part special series. The article is titled “Dismantling Systems of Racism and Oppression during Adolescence: An Agenda for Anti-Racist Research.”

To learn more about the 4-part, JRA Special Series on Dismantling Systems of Racism and Oppression, visit