A Glance Within the Color Lines of the 21st Century: Examining Differences In Ethnic and Racial Self-Concepts Within the Black Race

Open Access
Okrafo-Smart, William
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Pamela Marie Cole, Thesis Supervisor
  • Richard Alan Carlson, Honors Advisor
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Black
  • Identity
  • Immigrant
  • African
  • Caribbean
  • Black American
The dominant discourse of race relations often views Black people as a monolithic group. This view veils varied experiences and perceptions that may exist among ethnic sub-groups within the Black Race. This thesis sought to challenge this view by exploring potential differences in self-concept between Black American Non-Immigrants and Black Immigrants/Descendants. To investigate this possibility, a survey of college students and college graduates who identified as Black was conducted in which participants were queried about their ethnic identification and racial identification concurrently. Findings indicated that there are differences in the extent to which Black American Non-Immigrants and Black Immigrants/Descendants endorse agreement with certain aspects of ethnic identity, but do not differ on other aspects of ethnic identity and do not differ on aspects of racial identity development. The participants appeared to have strong racial identities, based on Cross’ model of internalized racial identity, but Black American Non-Immigrants appeared to have a somewhat lower sense of an achieved ethnic identity relative to Black Immigrants/Descendants. The thesis findings are discussed in terms of the need for more nuanced analyses of variations among Black individuals, limitations of the study, and future directions for the study of intra-racial group ethnic identity.