Racial Identity Can Boost Academic Performance

USA TODAY, September 2003 | Go to article overview

Racial Identity Can Boost Academic Performance


Minority youths get better grades in school it they connect their racial identity with academics. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, research shows. In three studies analyzing racial and cultural identity, Daphne Oyserman, an associate professor in the School of Social Work and Department of Psychology, and her colleagues interviewed middle and high school students about how racial identities affected their grades school attendance, or persistence on a math task, The researchers studied African-American, Hispanic. Native American, and Israeli adolescents,

Some forms of identity, Oyserman notes, can reduce the risk of a student feeling disengaged from everyone else. The risk increases, however, when Someone doesn't have a racial identity or has one that only focuses on their group and not its place in society Oyserman's study indicates that an African-American student who felt good about being black and American did well in school. Yet, an African-American student who felt good about doing well in school because it reflected positively on the black community excelled, even if he or she viewed society as somewhat racist and against him or her,

In one study, eighth-grade African-American, Hispanic, and Native-American youths were asked open-ended questions about racial-ethnic identity. …

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