Racial Socialization and Racial Identity: Can They Promote Resiliency for African American Adolescents?

By Miller, David B. | Adolescence, Fall 1999 | Go to article overview

Racial Socialization and Racial Identity: Can They Promote Resiliency for African American Adolescents?


Miller, David B., Adolescence


ABSTRACT

Although there is a rich body of research on resiliency, much of the literature fails to include minority youths or does not take into consideration their distinctive racial and environmental circumstances. Additionally, limited attention has been given to protective factors that are unique to nonmajority populations. This article posits that racial socialization and racial identity protect urban African American adolescents against some of the harmful effects of a discriminatory environment. These factors are hypothesized to influence academic achievement--an indicator of resiliency that has been used in many studies. A theoretical framework is provided that combines character development in a hostile environment, bicultural identity, and urban stress models. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.

While the concept of resiliency and factors that promote it have received considerable attention in the social science literature, far fewer studies have examined the development of resiliency among members of racial minorities. This paper addresses the need to expand the concept of resiliency to include protective factors unique to African American adolescents, specifically racial socialization and racial identity.

First, racial socialization and racial identity are presented as protective factors for urban African American adolescents. Peters (1985) and Stevenson (1994, 1995) have posited that racial socialization can act as a buffer against negative racial messages in the environment. Arroyo and Zigler (1995) have found that racial identity facilitates the development of competencies among African American adolescents. It is argued here that protective factors unique to nonmajority populations must be considered when assessing group strengths.

Second, a theoretical framework undergirding this argument is provided. This theoretical perspective takes into account the distinctive environmental conditions of African Americans. A better understanding of resiliency and associated factors is thereby achieved.

Educational achievement has long been considered as signifying resiliency among adolescents. However, limited attention has been given to the factors that promote educational achievement among urban adolescents (Barbarin, 1993; Bowman & Howard, 1985), even though the literature is replete with deficit-based discussions on the factors contributing to educational failure. The relationship of racial socialization and racial identity to the educational involvement and academic achievement of African American adolescents is thus discussed.

Finally, directions for future research and service delivery are presented.

RESILIENCY

Although environmental disadvantage and stress can lead to behavioral and psychological problems among children (Luthar & Zigler, 1991), there are those who overcome these difficulties to become well-adjusted adults (Garbarino, Dubrow, Kostelny, & Pardo, 1992; Luthar & Zigler, 1991; Safyer, 1994). This positive adaptation despite negative environmental circumstances is referred to as resiliency. Research into resiliency has focused on protective factors that enable an individual to adapt successfully to the environment, notwithstanding challenging or threatening circumstances (Garmezy, 1991; Masten, Best, & Garmezy, 1990). Whereas initial research centered on the absence of psychopathology among those experiencing negative life events, the current focus is toward understanding the process of resiliency (Smith & Prior, 1995).

Resiliency may include an array of abilities or attributes. Referred to as the "positive pole" (Rutter, 1987, p. 316), "unusually good adaptation" (Beardslee, 1989, p. 267), "positive psychological adjustment" (Smith & Prior, 1995, p. 173), success in meeting developmental tasks or social expectations (Luthar & Zigler, 1991), and the ability to "thrive, mature, and increase competence" (Gordon, 1995, p.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Racial Socialization and Racial Identity: Can They Promote Resiliency for African American Adolescents?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.