CONSTRUCTING ?MULTIPLE? CONCEPTIONS OF BLACKNESS: A CASE STUDY OF HOW AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENTS CONTEST IDENTITY AT A PREDOMINANTLY WHITE LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGE IN THE UNITED STATES

Abstract

Author(s): Diana ARIZA, Len BERKEY

This article uses qualitative methods and a longitudinal time frame to examine the process of racial identity formation among African American students at a selective liberal arts college. It examines theories of racial identity development and performance, fictive kinship and racial authenticity, and the intersectionality of race and gender. The results demonstrate that students’ performances of blackness are dynamic and context-specific, but that they primarily reflect the struggle to resist stereotypes and to maintain racial authenticity. It is also evident that racial identity development is inextricably tied to gender identity, and that black male and female college experiences diverge sharply.

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