Racial Identity Matters: The Role of Racial Discrimination in the Lives of African American Young People

Monday, January 27, 2014

Robert Sellers

Charles D. Moody Collegiate Professor of Psychology
University of Michigan

African American youth face a myriad of challenges to their healthy development in a society that has traditionally devalued them because of their race. Chief among these challenges is the continued exposure to racially discriminatory events. Research findings have consistently indicated that African American youth experience racial discrimination at non-trivial levels. Research has also consistently linked African American youth’s experiences with racial discrimination to a variety of deleterious academic, social, and well-being outcomes. At the same time, there is also evidence that many African American youth are resilient in the face of these racial challenges. African Americans’ racial identity attitudes seem to be a particularly important source of resilience. Racial identity refers to individuals’ attitudes and beliefs regarding the significance and meaning of race in individuals’ lives. The present talk will review some of our latest research findings related to the interplay among racial identity, racial discrimination, and well-being outcomes in African American adolescents and emerging adults.


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