Meaning-Making, Internalized Racism, and African American Identity

SUNY Press
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 Presents research on how variations in African Americans’ racial self-concept affects meaning-making and internalized oppression.
Focusing on the broad range of attitudes Black people employ to make sense of their Blackness, this volume offers the latest research on racial identity. The first section explores meaning-making, or the importance of holding one type of racial-cultural identity as compared to another. It looks at a wide range of topics, including stereotypes, spirituality, appearance, gender and intersectionalities, masculinity, and more. The second section examines the different expressions of internalized racism that arise when the pressure of oppression is too great, and includes such topics as identity orientations, self-esteem, colorism, and linked fate. Grounded in psychology, the research presented here makes the case for understanding Black identity as wide ranging in content, subject to multiple interpretations, and linked to both positive mental health as well as varied forms of internalized racism.

“With its impressive and varied research base, this is one of the most comprehensive books on the subject of racial identity.” — Scott L. Graves Jr., Duquesne University
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About the author

 


Jas M. Sullivan is Associate Professor of Political Science and African and African American Studies at Louisiana State University and the coeditor (with Ashraf M. Esmail) of African American Identity: Racial and Cultural Dimensions of the Black Experience. William E. Cross Jr. is Clinical Professor at the University of Denver and Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He is the author of Shades of Black: Diversity in African American Identity.
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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Sep 7, 2016
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Pages
372
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ISBN
9781438462981
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Language
English
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Genres
Psychology / Cognitive Psychology & Cognition
Social Science / Disease & Health Issues
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction

When three-month-old Lia Lee Arrived at the county hospital emergency room in Merced, California, a chain of events was set in motion from which neither she nor her parents nor her doctors would ever recover. Lia's parents, Foua and Nao Kao, were part of a large Hmong community in Merced, refugees from the CIA-run "Quiet War" in Laos. The Hmong, traditionally a close-knit and fiercely people, have been less amenable to assimilation than most immigrants, adhering steadfastly to the rituals and beliefs of their ancestors. Lia's pediatricians, Neil Ernst and his wife, Peggy Philip, cleaved just as strongly to another tradition: that of Western medicine. When Lia Lee Entered the American medical system, diagnosed as an epileptic, her story became a tragic case history of cultural miscommunication.

Parents and doctors both wanted the best for Lia, but their ideas about the causes of her illness and its treatment could hardly have been more different. The Hmong see illness aand healing as spiritual matters linked to virtually everything in the universe, while medical community marks a division between body and soul, and concerns itself almost exclusively with the former. Lia's doctors ascribed her seizures to the misfiring of her cerebral neurons; her parents called her illness, qaug dab peg--the spirit catches you and you fall down--and ascribed it to the wandering of her soul. The doctors prescribed anticonvulsants; her parents preferred animal sacrifices.

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