Study Shows: Black Teens Feel Victimized From Discrimination
April 29, 2009
(ChattahBox)—Black teens suffer from negative racial identity, researchers say, as many teens grow up feeling like victims of racial discrimination. With President Obama elected as the first African American president of the United States, pundits have pronounced the end of racial discrimination. But, you can’t just wave a magic wand to rid the country of racism and a new study shows how black youngsters perceive racial discrimination in their lives.
A three-year study of 219 American black teens, found that many of the youngsters felt victimized by racial discrimination, a finding that has serious implications for the development of a positive racial identity by young African Americans, the researchers say. The study was commissioned by the National Institute of Mental Health to further understand racial identity among African Americans.
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Fordham University, and the University of Michigan. Researchers analyzed the association between perceptions of racial discrimination and racial identity, using structural equation modeling.
The black teens in the study were aged from 14 to 18-years old, and all resided and attended school in racially heterogeneous regions in the Midwest.
Over a three-year period, researchers surveyed the black teens with a series of questionnaires focusing on racial issues. The results showed a majority of the black teens perceived themselves as victims of racial discrimination. The feelings of victimization increased with older teens, as they were more apt to experience instances of racism as they became older.
The black teens who perceived greater racial discrimination were more likely to believe that society viewed African Americans negatively.
So, what does this study tell us? Lead researcher, Eleanor K. Seaton, professor in psychology at the University of North Carolina, believes the results of this study can be useful to parents, teachers and other adults who have contact with black teens.
Teachers and parents especially, need to realize how negatively many youngsters view their African American heritage, and need to help black children develop a more positive view of their racial membership.
The entire study is available in the March/April 2009 issue of the Child Development Journal.