Racial And Ethnic Identity Development

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The racial and ethnic identity individuals identify with can be a crucial aspect of the basis of their individual and collective identity (Chávez & Guido-DiBrito, 1999). Racial and ethnic identities are also both comprised of a sense of belongingness to a group, the learning process of being informed about one’s group, in addition to being associated with cultural behaviors and values, with attitudes towards one’s own group, and reactions to discriminate (Phinney & Ong, 2007). In the United States, the way in which some individuals are visibly and legally defined, places them into minority populations that can alter the way they identify with their racial and ethnic status, conflicting social influences, and cultural influences (Phinney & Ong,…show more content…
The first stage describes unexamined ethnic identity and states that individuals fall into one of two categories based on their knowledge or influences of ethnicity. The two categories include, the diffusion category, when the individual has not previously encountered ethnicity as an issue or topic, and the foreclosure category, when individuals have collected information about ethnicity from their family and peers, also succumbing to such information without actually interacting with individuals of that ethnic population, (Phinney, 1993). For many individuals in this stage, ethnicity is not typically viewed as an issue, which in turn, leads to diffusion or foreclosure, while other individuals may impart strong ethnic views and seem to jump ahead to stage three. The second stage of Phinney’s model has to do with the search or moratorium of individuals’ ethnic identity that describes when an individual encounters can alter how people view and become aware of their own ethnicity (1993). Phinney (1993), suggests that individuals may remain in this stage for a long period of time and may even experience rather intense emotions. Lastly, the third stage discusses ethnic identity achievement when individuals resolve their ethnic identity conflicts (Phinney, 1993). During this stage, individuals are informed about their own ethnicity, but are aware and appreciative of all ethnicities and suggests a positive, bicultural identity (Phinney, 1993). While this model may help to explain how individuals’ ethnic identity could influence the course of an individual’s life and the choices they make entering adulthood, it is important to note that Phinney’s model of ethnic identity development used research from minority adolescents, therefore the applicability of this model should be drawn into question when applying it to emerging adulthood
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