The Understanding of Race and the Construction of African American Identity

Sanders, Vetta L.; Akbar, Maysa
June 2003
Western Journal of Black Studies;Summer2003, Vol. 27 Issue 2, p80
Academic Journal
This study explores the understanding of race and racial group categorization as potential factors associated with the construction of African American identity. Three hundred and nineteen African American adults were interviewed to determine the impact of group definition and term preference on racial identity salience and attitudes. Measures administered included a demographic questionnaire, a 29-item. racial identification questionnaire, and a 5-item measure of racial identity salience. Additionally, three open-ended questions were posed that probed participant strategy for racial group categorization and preferred racial designation term. The basis for racial group categorization was associated with term preference and cultural racial identity, but not racial identity salience or other racial identity attitudes, and there was an association between term preference and racial identity salience. The implications of these findings are explored. This research was supported by a grant from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.


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