Racial Identity Of African American Adolescents

821 WordsApr 4, 20164 Pages
Along with that, racial identity is another big contributor to the degradation of African American’s youth mental health, as a weak racial identity results in poorly mishandled ways of coping with racism and stress. African American students as early as middle school engage in introspection of their racial identity, where they begin to discover who they are and the negative stereotypes surrounding their identity (Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, 2007, p.256). The results of a study of 297 African American adolescents by McCreary, Slavin, and Berry found that a strong pride in racial identity was important in handling stress in a positive manner and decreasing poor mental health (Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, 2007, p.256). Students were less likely to internalize negative racial stereotypes that devalue their worth and build resistance towards it. If not, students were more susceptible to succumbing to stereotype threat, racial bias, and a negative self-fulfilling prophecy that could alter their well-being and threaten their mental health. Chronic exposure to this can severely damage African Americans adolescents’ mental health, which is evident by their mental withdrawal in school and loss of interest or motivation to achieve academic success. Methods Eight college students attending the University of Louisville were interviewed. Within this group, half were females and the other half were males. Among the females, two were biracial and the other were African American. Of the individuals who
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