Variations of Black Identity

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An intro to current data and theory regarding immigrants of African and Caribbean descent in the United States.

An intro to current data and theory regarding immigrants of African and Caribbean descent in the United States.

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  • 1. Shades of Black: An Introduction to Cultural Considerations for African and Caribbean People
    Chakka Reeves, M.Ed.
    Assistant Dean, Multicultural Education and Outreach
    Drexel University
    chakka.reeves@drexel.edu
    Hahnemann Presentation
    February 26th, 2009
  • 2. Terminology
    Black/African American
    People of African descent who are 1st or 1.5th generation or native to the U.S. and Canada
    Immigrant Blacks
    People of African descent who are themselves recent immigrants or are the children of recent immigrants
    Africans
    People of African descent who are themselves or whose parents are from an African country, not including: Algeria,Egypt,Libya,Morocco,Tunisia
    Afro-Caribbeans/ West Indians
    People of African descent who are themselves or whose parents are from a Caribbean country, not including: Cuba, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica or other Latin American countries
  • 3. Presentation Objectives
    Introduction to Terminology
    Current Immigration Trends
    Culture and Educational Attainment
    Identity Development Theory
    Implications for Practices
  • 4. Immigrant Blacks in the United States
    The number of African Americans with recent roots in sub-Saharan Africa nearly tripled during the 1990’s
    Census 2000 shows that:
    Afro-Caribbeans in the United States number over 1.5 million
    Africans number over 600 thousand
    Source: Logan, J. R., & Deane, G. (2003). Black diversity in metropolitan America: Lewis Mumford Center, University at Albany, State University of New York.
  • 5. Immigrant Blacks in the United States
    Afro-Caribbeansare heavily concentrated on the East Coast
    America’s African population is more geographically dispersed, but is heavily concentrated in the Washington D.C. metro area and New York
    The majority are from West Africa, particularly Ghana and Nigeria
    East Africans, including Ethiopians and Somalians, are the second most represented group
    Source: Logan, J. R., & Deane, G. (2003). Black diversity in metropolitan America: Lewis Mumford Center, University at Albany, State University of New York.
  • 6. Africans in the U.S. by region
  • 7. Afro-Caribbeans in U.S. Cities
  • 8.
  • 9. Immigrant Blacks in the United States
    Africans tend to live in neighborhoods with higher median income and education level than African Americans and Afro-Caribbeans
    Afro-Caribbeans tend to live in neighborhoods with a higher percent homeowners than either African Americans or Africans
    Source: Logan, J. R., & Deane, G. (2003). Black diversity in metropolitan America: Lewis Mumford Center, University at Albany, State University of New York.
  • 10. Educational Attainment
  • 11. Educational Attainment
    Source: Current Population Reports: Educational Attainment in the United States: 2003. Census
  • 12. A study at Harvard
    Rimer and Arenson (2004) report that Harvard University’s African Americans population is eight percent, but two-thirds of these students are West Indian and African immigrants or the children of these immigrants (this number also includes bi-racial children, but to a lesser degree)
    Source:Rimer, S., & Arenson, K. W. (June 24th,2004). Top Colleges Take More Blacks, But Which Ones? The New York Times.
  • 13. Massey, Mooney, Torres and Charles (2007)
    “Black Immigrants and Black Natives Attending Selective Colleges and Universities in the United States.”
    Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Freshmen (NLSF), the article looked at a sample of 747 Black students who were of native origin, and 281 who were of immigrant origin, “yielding an overall immigrant percentage of 27 percent” (p.243)
  • 14. Academic Achievement and Identity Development
    Among black high school students, positive and realistic views of one’s ethnic identity are linked to:
    Higher rates of high school completion
    Higher rates of enrollment in 2 and 4-year institutions
    Source:Chavous, T. M., Bernat, D. H., Schmeelk-Cone, K., Caldwell, C. H., Kohn-Wood, L., & Zimmerman, M. A. (2003). Racial Identity and Academic Attainment Among African American Adolescents. Child Development, 74(4), 1076-1090.
  • 15. Black Identity Development
  • 16. Cross’s Theory of Psychological Nigrescence(1995)
    Pre-Encounter
    Encounter
    Immersion/Emmersion
    Integration
    Internalization/Commitment
    Cross, W. E., Jr. (1995). The psychology of nigrescence: Revising the Cross model. In J. G. Ponterotto, J. M. Casas, L. A. Suzuki, & C. M.Alexander (Eds.), Handbook of multicultural counseling (pp. 93–122).Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
    Nigrescence: “To become black” in French
  • 17. Prencounter
    One of two viewpoints possible at this stage:
    A Eurocentric perspective of the world, pro-white and anti-black thinking
    An race-avoidant perspective where race is not seen as an issue at all
  • 18. Encounter
    Involves an event or series of events that create dissonance for the individual, causing them to look at their previous world view more critically
    Events that trigger movement to this stage may be:
    Stark and traumatic, such as being called a racial slur or being denied access to something because of race
    Gradual and positive, such as being a part of an identity-based student group or reading an influential book on a black historical figure, such as Malcolm X.
  • 19. Immersion/Emmersion
    At this stage, the individual begins to immerse themselves in all things related to black and African cultures and avoid anything Eurocentric
    One’s blackness at this stage is based on outward appearances,and is insecure
  • 20. Intergration
    The exclusive engagement in black/African culture is leveled, and the individual begins to integrate their previous identity into their new worldview
  • 21. Internalization/Committment
    Individuals at this stage have reached another level of their feelings of internalization.
    Not only are they comfortable of their blackness on an individual level, but they are able to translate these feelings into commitment to a larger Black community and/or an even larger group of marginalized people, racially or otherwise.
  • 22. Cross’s Model in S. African Context
    Hocoy (1999) sought to apply Cross’s (1995) theory to a sample of South Africans
    The author chose South Africa because of the high salience of race, similar to the experience of African Americans
    The history of separation and discrimination based on race was shared as well (e.g. Plessey vs. Ferguson, Jim Crow Laws in the U.S., Apartheid in South Africa)
  • 23. Cross’s Model in S. African Context:Preencounter
    Hocoy found that the preencounter stage was present in the majority of the people that participated in the study
    The people in this sample who talked about being at this stage made statements such as “all that was White was good and beautiful . . . [and] all that was Black was bad and ugly,” and in which “Whites were superior.” (p.140)
  • 24. Cross’s Model in S. African Context: Encounter
    Students in the study talk about experiencing an incident that triggered an encounter stage in which they began to experience dissonance about themselves and their understanding of race. Hocoy states:
    One technikon student remembers a drastic shift in her worldview when she was confronted with a landlord who refused to rent the place to her because she was Black, despite being in a post apartheid South Africa. Another student remembers being beaten because a shop owner (wrongly) accused him of stealing, and another time in which he ran for his life as he was chased by attack dogs, which were sent by their White owners ‘to have a laugh’ at him. (pp.140-141)
  • 25. Cross’s Model in S. African Context: Immersion/Emmersion
    Almost all of the students in the study have said that they experienced a stage where they abandoned their Eurocentric worldview in favor of one that validates their identity
    The people in his study described liberating themselves from “mental slavery (p.141)” and embracing their African heritage. This process was two-fold, as some people in the study also described having “fantasies of vengeance (p.141)” against White people
  • 26. Cross’s Model in S. African Context: Integration
    Some participants described entering these stages, where they began to view White people as being no better or worse than Black people
    Participants in the study made statements such as, "“only love can transform your enemy, [whereas] hate multiplies hate.”
    These participants demonstrated a more relaxed calm with regard to their identity; their Blackness had been internalized and they are now able to view life on other dimensions
  • 27. Cross’s Model in S. African Context: Internalization/Committement
    Black South Africans that participated in this study, “displayed a continuing and lifelong commitment to the development of other Blacks” (p.142).
    One technikon counselor would spend her weekends in the townships providing workshops and counseling and in. This may be an indication that even for more acculturated South Africans that their communal nature of their heritage has survived.(p. 143)
  • 28. Identity Development for Caribbeans
    Second-generation Afro-Caribbeans had significantly higher internalization status attitudes than first-generation Afro-Caribbeans.
    Generational status and ethnic identity were not related
    Ethnic identity does not block the development of racial identity
    Source:Hall, S. P., & Carter, R. T. (2006). The Relationship Between Racial Identity, Ethnic Identity, and Perceptions of Racial Discrimination in an Afro-Caribbean Descent Sample. Journal of Black Psychology, 32(2), 155-175.
  • 29. Literature on cultural factors
    Phelps, Taylor and Gerard (2001): Native African Americans has significantly higher levels of mistrust for other racial groups than immigrant African Americans
    Waters (2001) and Kamya (1997): Immigrant African Americans have different ways of defining their ethnic identity
    Source:
    Kamya, H. A. (1997). African Immigrants in the United States: The Challenge for Research and Practice. Social Work, 42(2), 154-165.
    Phelps, R. E., Taylor, J. D., & Gerard, P. A. (2001). Cultural mistrust, ethnic identity, racial identity, and self-esteem among ethnically diverse Black university students. Journal of Counseling & Development, 79(2), 209-216.
    Waters, M. C. (2001). Black identities: West Indian immigrant dreams and American realities (1st Harvard University Press pbk. ed.). New York Cambridge, Mass.: Russell Sage Foundation ; Harvard University Press.
  • 30. References
    Bureau, U. S. C. Educational Attainment. from http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/educ-attn.html
    Chavous, T. M., Bernat, D. H., Schmeelk-Cone, K., Caldwell, C. H., Kohn-Wood, L., & Zimmerman, M. A. (2003). Racial Identity and Academic Attainment Among African American Adolescents. Child Development, 74(4), 1076-1090.
    Cross, W. E., Jr. (1995). The psychology of nigrescence: Revising the Cross model. In J. G. Ponterotto, J. M. Casas, L. A. Suzuki, & C. M.Alexander (Eds.), Handbook of multicultural counseling (pp. 93–122).Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
    Hall, S. P., & Carter, R. T. (2006). The Relationship Between Racial Identity, Ethnic Identity, and Perceptions of Racial Discrimination in an Afro-Caribbean Descent Sample. Journal of Black Psychology, 32(2), 155-175.
    Hocoy, D. (1999). The Validity of Cross's Model of Black Racial Identity Development in the South African Context. Journal of Black Psychology, 25(2), 131-151.
    Logan, J. R., & Deane, G. (2003). Black diversity in metropolitan America: Lewis Mumford Center, University at Albany, State University of New York.
    Garrod, A., Ward, J. V., Robinson, T. L., & Kilkenny, R. (Eds.). (1999). Souls looking back : life stories of growing up Black. New York: Routledge
    Massey, D. S., Mooney, M., Torress, K. C., & Charles, C. Z. (2007). Black Immigrants and Black Natives Attending Selective Colleges and Universities in the United States. American Journal of Education, 113.
    Rimer, S., & Arenson, K. W. (June 24th, 2004). Top Colleges Take More Blacks, But Which Ones? The New York Times.