SRA - "Racialized Experience"
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SRA - "Racialized Experience"






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  • After 7-9 yrs of adjustment and in the context of “becoming American”, how were the youth addressing these issuesIn the past assessed coping generally and when it came to race, our initial interviews revealed, experiences with race and the ability to “rise above”, focus on larger goals
  • The literature on ethnic/racial groups of color in Western society, particularly in the US and work on immigrant groups have something to say about discrimination, individual and group identity.
  • Families of American ethnic youth of color anticipate the experience of prejudice and discrimination as typical experiences of their children (Johnson, 2005; Quintana et al, 2008) and develop a wide range of strategies to help their children navigate and combat these strategies. Among immigrant families generational status plays a significant role in determining the impact of discriminatory experiences on the self concepts and identities of youth from Asian (Qin, Way, & Rana, 2008), Latino (Quintana et al, 2008) and Caribbean (Hughes et al, 2008) backgrounds. Sudanese refugee youth, often referred to as the Lost Boys of Sudan, existing largely outside the context of biological families cut strangely across the experiences of domestic, international, and immigrant youth in America. Moreover, they do so outside any true connection to family or cultural context.
  • Among the extant circumstances at work here are the missing layer of ongoing parental socialization around racial/ethnicidentity as the intercountry and transnational context shifts.Unaccompanied minors are missing the constancy of parental socialization around national and ethnic identity that takes place both implicitly and explicitly. These processes have been replaced by intermittent adult influence as in the camps, peer socialization and the broader socialization embedded in Sudanese culture and communities. Previous research tells us that these influences are important in the context of discrimination because they aid the developing child in building skills to cope with adversity in general but race based discrimination in particular. Older children do report direct experiences with racism and unfair treatment related to race in school settings (Sanders, 1997). Two other factors to consider, though not with their cultural or biological families, some youth were embedded in foster families most of whom were Euro American and likely not previously challenged to address discrimination and prejudice in the way the youth might experience it. Another factor,… we’ve argued that in American society children must be prepared children for the experiences of devalued status in the society and maintain a strong/positive sense of self. Sudanese youth may lack preparation for the experience of discrimination and devalued status based upon racial characteristics or cultural characteristics coming from a more homogenous society. However, their experiences with religious discrimination may inform their coping strategies and resilience orientations. Still there may be gaps in how to interpret and what to anticipate given the new social perceptions of who they are. In this work we are interested in the connections among factors like social history, context or this case dramatic change in community, the essence of the immigrant experience and of the dynamics of situational & societal social perceptions that lead to the experience of discrimination and prejudice and how these transactions may transform the evolving ethnic and national identities of these youth.
  • READ Question:Of course this required us to describe the experiences of discrimination and prejudice; coping strategies and appraisal processes; and the youths perspectives on their identities or evolving identities.The last task was a more integrative one in which we attempt to look at the relations among these constructs with an eye toward understanding what the youth might be saying about the how their racialized experiences are affecting their sense of group identity and how they feel about becoming American, if indeed they see it as such.How much does it matter that they are such a unique group and how will the intersections of their experiences and histories converge to promote current theory or have new theory emerge?
  • Methods generally described at the beginning of the sessionDimensions that will be discussed, not all themes will be discussed, will try to stick to those most relevant for the last segment of the paper.Looking within individuals to address the last component of the paper
  • The transition to living in America and the integration into community, specifically housing, employment and schools exposed the youth to a range of contexts and experiences some of which resulted in direct contact with racism and a range of discriminatory episodes. Want to make 1 important point about context and that is, it played a critical role in the nature of racialized experiences and who might be involved. So for instance, in highschool, most of the experiences that the youth described were focused on experiences with their peers, cause that whose in highschool—but not exclusively—certainly principles, coaches and teachers were important here. Another example would be that the community context involved experiences that would never happen in school, contact with the police and the experience of racial profiling… etc…Also, it constrained the type of experience to some extent though not exclusively. The preponderance of the taunting, name calling, ‘where do you come from’? Experiences happened in school with other students… and alternatively, their experiences changed when they moved from the middle class homes of their foster families to sometimes poor housing in more challenged communities… and so on…
  • One challenge we have here is ,making a distinction between prejudice and discrimination that remains in the voice of the youth…While we may understand prejudice as expressed negative or derogatory attitudes and discrimination as action based in creating exclusion or providing or limiting privileges based on some notion of group stereotypes…. The youth probably little conscious distinction among these experiences, This is important when race traverses racialized experience. The youths attributions here have lots of implications….Refugee youth report a range of experiences with racism, discrimination, and prejudice. In this section we identify the themes associated discrimination which most youth report on. At every turn the youth are grappling with their own world view, assimilation of new experiences and systems of meaning, as well as a completely different dimension of discrimination and prejudice than known at home, namely moving from discrimination based upon religion to that based upon racial and cultural hierarchies of meaning. Their categories of experience include issues of skin color, prejudice in Black/white interactions, invalidation, aknowledgeprejudice but no direct experience, cultural discrimination, racial profiling, maltreatment, etc., We also found that not all youth considered themselves to have had such experiences. Some examples:
  • Skin color has long been an observable feature used as the measure by which to apply discrimination. In the American South, Jim Crow laws assured the separation of public resources for many years on the basis of skin color alone (citation, XX). Within the African American community historically skin color has been ascribed meaning such that certain features, such as lighter skin color, were given status above others, as it was presumed and often correctly that these individuals might perhaps fare better in the society at large (Frazier). Sudanese youth have unexpectedly come up against remaining remnants of these systems of meaning associated with skin color in both the society at large and within the African American community. Experience of being Black in America, challenges associated, stereotypes associated
  • Statement expresses the complexity and intersections in their experience of color, and nationality….identification based in skin color as they see it….part and parcel of being in America?
  • Some youth recall never experiencing prejudice but are aware that others have experienced these problems. Examples above “ MM: (TL:(You ever been mistreated?) “Ah, not that I know of” and moreover, all is fine and good, MM: “…just a lot of people who, you know,…have really open hearts here in America…”. Certainly, these experiences for some youth may have been buffered by foster families, by really strong communications skills or the ability to bridge to all groups etc,.
  • The practice or pattern of stopping primarily males of African American or Latino background without reasonable suspicion of a crime is known as racial profiling (Banks, Eberhardt & Ross, 2006) and the Sudanese refugee male youth in our study had experienced numerous instances of this practice. One of our youth recounted 6 separate events in which he was involved. Experience with racial profilingAnd commentary on the experience of being racially profiledYouth talked about mistreatment on the job, “N” word, refused food by a customer or care at “black” hands of the youth, mistreatment in shops r other public places, on buses…
  • Appraisal focused coping includes cognitive redefining or altering you perspective on something; analysis of situation; distancing; cognitively avoiding the situation or denial. Sudanese refugee youth employed these strategies regularly
  • Another strategy in this category is that of providing some analysis or attempting to think through the consequences. How does it challenge goalsAppraisal included distraction strategies: sports and substance use (very little discussion about own use that, usually report by others)Problem solving involved coming up with new strategies and getting advice from mentors or foster parents, several youth relied upon for this help and felt supported
  • A response to an unjust act in which you feel some loss to your esteem or personhood is often met with anger. A subset of our youth talked about times they felt angry in response to interactions with the police or taunting at school or actions directed toward them within the community
  • The most consistent statement of identity across all the youth was that of being Sudanese. For other youth the central identity could exist along experiences of what it means to these youth to become American being American is often about understanding enough of the culture to manage your daily functioning, language, customs, how to get things done at one level and accessing the American “dream” at another level, acquiring education, a career, home and a car. For some it means acquiring the “citizenship card” that indicates your status as an American. In the statement above one youth was referring to having developed some comfort with even an identity as African American….and also expressed an adopted identity with youth culture of which is Sudanese friends felt he had gone over board…Most describe some more utilitarian aspects (where you live, achieving American dream, acquiring markers of American-cars etc…., or fitting in better, and a few like our young friend here talked about a transformation that was made his own or even a feeling accepted/ loved/ and that makes it home and linking those experiences and feelings to being and become American
  • Belongingness is an aspect of group identity, Feelings of belongingness were sometimes feelings that were similar to those more confusing thoughts about identity or more utilitarian thoughts about being American, a sense of knowing what to do and being appropriate for the context. However, there were other dimensions which included, feeling that one had made a life and a home here, but this was not necessarily an expression of feeling “at home”, moreso that one has taken up residence here and that makes it your home. Of course these feelings could be solidified by ties with foster families or new families and children that have blossomed in their time here. Or in the negative, belongingness could mean that there was no longer an acceptable fit culturally in Sudan but in the US my bicultural skills are adequate and therefore “I belong” in the US. Occasionally among the youth this meant having a sense of comfort in being here and knowing this place offered the best solutions for their lives. Although most did believe that being in the US was a far cry from some the ways they suffered, this fact did not always make up for feeling like “nobody” with no real grounding or “place to be”. Rarest among the belongingness were mutual feelings of acceptance, connection in community, America embraces you and you embrace America. This sense of true belonging was not typically expressed.
  • All youth maintained a Sudanese identity, some stronger than others. Sudanese American identities came as easily from those who reported many experiences with race as those reporting no experiences with discrimination….Belongingness and feeling of being an outsider, may be tied to buffering experiences families and fewer experiences of race. More utilitarian aspects of belongingness less tied to discrimination or coping. Discrimination is emphasized here because these were experiences that limited access, Prejudice as much as discrimination may be more linked to expressions of being an outsider and not being able to embrace an American identity. Sudanese identity not socialized in the US, probably it’s the one thing that is easily transportable from place to place when context keeps changing, what remains consistent, ….
  • The themes tied to the constructs of racialized experiences with prejudice and discrimination, coping and identity have rarely be explored in depth. We had previously studied resilience and coping among the youth, however, not as specifically related to race or as extensively as in this study. These are relatively speaking individual skilled at coping with exigencies, 1)don’t know as yet whether the preponderance of emotion focused coping is specific to this context or more generally a coping orientation fo the youth…. We have seen appraisal– earlier interviews did not reflect as much anger frustration….. But did reflect a good did of appraisal coping.. This depth of investigation into these specific areas do not yet exist in the literature for immigrant populationsThe study reveals that multiple identities in relation to nationality, race, culture co-exist within individuals is dynamics ways and that there are not merely groups of individuals with a single coherent identity. how these identities appear to be serving adjustment, dynamic changeThe literature may be behind the experience of these youth.
  • Relations between discrimination experiences and identity do not map onto the experience Sudanese youth’s identity developmentSome aspects of can be influenced, just as some aspects of identity can protective, in this case belongingness and outsider . Both models contribute something but Neither model fully explained the experience of Sudanese youth, components of each model are challenged and requires a refashioning of both modelsDiscussion of implications…. For broader audience….

SRA - "Racialized Experience" SRA - "Racialized Experience" Presentation Transcript

  • The Influence of Racialized Experiences on the Identities of Sudanese Refugee Youth
    Deborah J. Johnson, Baolin Qin, Andrew Saltarelli
    Michigan State University*
    * With Tom Luster, posthumously, the data and the larger study were under his express direction
  • Study Focus
    Early assessment of general resilience patterns and coping with race revealed the ability to “rise above”, focus on larger goals
    Prejudice and discrimination as a repetitive theme in the experience of the youth
    What would now be at the intersection of 7-9 yrs of adjustment, “becoming American”/identity, and race?
  • Rationale
    Discrimination is linked to racial identity
    For African Americans if race is a salient category of self/grp identity then discrimination more likely to be perceived (Sellers and Shelton, 2003)
    Meaning associated with how you think others view you is important to psychological distress. Ideology buffers distress (specific racial identity);
    Expectation of negative views of your group, less impact of discrimination
  • Rationale-Parental Racial Socialization
    Among families of American ethnic youth racialized experiences are anticipated
    Parents develop strategies to aid their youth negotiating the exigencies of racism while maintaining cultural authenticity and buffering their sense of self (Johnson, 2005;Quintana & McKown, 2008)
    Generational status is a factor in how the identities and self concepts of immigrant youth are affected (Qin et al, 2008;Hughes, et al, 2008)
  • Rationale-
    Unique group of youth
    Separated from biological parents/families, separated from homeland, transnationally transplanted, immigrant group of color/refugee status, Euro American foster parents*
  • Question
    Our central question focuses on whether the experiences of discrimination and coping processes would influence ethnic/racial identity development among Sudanese refugee youth
    Describe, identify linkages between constructs, confirm/challenge prevailing theory
  • Findings
    Context defines the boundaries experience
    Discrimination and prejudice
    Identity as an Outcome
  • Context defines the boundaries experience
    Schools (highschool, college)
  • Discrimination and prejudice
    Youth do not actively distinguish between prejudice and discrimination but experiences both
    Some themes:
    skin color,
    prejudice in Black/white interactions,
    acknowledge of prejudice did not experience,
    cultural discrimination,
    racial profiling,
  • Discrimination and Prejudice – Skin Color
    “…living in America not easy for dark skin people like me..”
    “…sometimes they think that the darker you are, less likely to have money...”.
  • Discrimination and Prejudice – Skin Color
    you know, you’re different, you’re color is different, you know. … you know, they don’t see someone like that before, you know. ‘Cause we got African American here, but they don’t look like us, they kind of light skinned, you know, they different. Those are the culture thing we face, color, …, racial, you know
  • Acknowledge Prejudice but did not experience it
    “No I never had. I heard some people go through, but I never had any.”
    :….”some_____ kids they have a problem with some students,…but personally I haven’t had any problem with some of the students”.
  • Discrimination and Prejudice – Racial Profiling
    “…for some reason they[the police] just stop me, um, and they would say something like, “oh your driver license, we saw, it seemed like maybe your driver’s license plate expired” and it’s not, it’s not expired, but they just stop me….”
    “…living with being dark in this country is not fun sometimes. … anything [can] happen, either you’re gonna be first suspect, …it does not matter what it is.”
  • Coping
    Use of Lazarus & Folkman (1984)
    Identify themes, themes fit into appraisal, problem-, and emotion- focused coping
    Most youth seemed to cross categories when discussing their coping with described events
    Emotion-focused coping was prevalent
    Atypical of male population
  • Coping (Appraisal-focused)
    “there will be good people and bad people, no matter where you go”
    …You can be like, alright, maybe I’m even mad now, it’s not good because this is gonna go on my record, I don’t want to mess up my record…”
  • Coping (emotion focused)
    Anger, frustration
    “Being teased and called bad names by peers ‘my eyes just went blue’
    Use of sports
    Use of substances
  • Identity
    Always Sudanese
    Sudanese American
    Keeping Culture/Losing Culture
    Not Authentic Anymore/Americanized
  • Identity- Always Sudanese & Sudanese-American
    Always Sudanese
    “I am Sudanese, you know, I’m always Sudanese”
    “…still Sudan is my true home”
    Sudanese American
    “…well I consider myself American, and I live here, I am an American citizen”
    “I wear baggy jeans sometime, I wear all gangster hat, people think I’m too gangster sometime…”
  • Identity- Outsider
    I’m just cry myself sometime, …if I was in my community where by people know that my good son and I do anything bad or anything people will still recognize that’s my good son. But here, I feel like I’m nobody, you know…
    “I will still feel a little bit outsider”…“my heart is kind of like hanging there…
  • Identity- Belongingness
    “I feel I belong here. But I feel that I belong to my country Sudan. I don’t feel that I belong here“
    I mean, belong here. I’m doing things that Americans are doing here
    I certainly sometimes believe I belong here, but a lot of people they don’t believe you belong here”
    I find myself fitting more now in the culture than I did when first came, everybody pretty much knows me…it’s a good feeling. Like to see all these people that have love for you…
  • Identity as an Outcome
    Method: Looking within individuals, case studies
    Imperfect, but some good insights
    Discrimination experiences not shaping Sudanese identity OR Sudanese American
    More influences of discrimination and coping on other aspects of identity, belongingness and outsider
    Immigrant processes?
  • Conclusions
    Depth of study of racialized experiences of immigrant youth is a contribution
    Coping with race
    Exploration of multiple identities and the co-existence of multiple identities within you
    Literature may be behind the experiences presented here for immigrant youth
  • Conclusions, Emergent Theory
    Relations between discrimination experiences and identity do not map onto the experience Sudanese youth’s identity development
    Some aspects of can be influenced, in this case belongingness and outsider
    Neither model fully explained the experience of Sudanese youth