Racial identity can affect the self-esteem of a child while they are developing and as a whole. Swanson, Cunningham, Youngblood II and Spencer discussed the fact that children that were taught at a young age about their racial identity were less likely to feel a difference between their personal and group identity and that they were more able to identify people with positive attributes, no matter what race they were identifying (Swanson, Cunningham, Youngblood II and Spencer, 2009).
In the study, Swanson, Cunningham, Youngblood II and Spencer asked two questions: how are racial attitudes shaped and what mechanisms and factors contribute to these processes? They found that by teaching young children about their race, they can grow up to understand and accept themselves and the other races around them in an equal fashion, without prejudice. And they also found that by teaching history and self-appraisal in school at a young age can help them to understand and balance social assumptions with biases to understand the concept of self (Swanson, Cunningham, Youngblood II and Spencer, 2009).
Adolescence is a difficult time for all children, as most struggle with identity, and it’s particularly difficult for African American students who are having to deal with the notion that society thinks they are lazy, not very smart or capable, and are dangerous. This feeling of inequality creates an environment of defeatism which seriously diminishes self-esteem and self-worth.
According to Stefan McDonald, 2007, according to Stefan, 2007, it important that African American students defy this idea of defeatism and find self-empowerment. Knowledge of their history, which was taken from them during salary, must be made available, as this knowledge sets the framework for a positive self-image and identity, and teaches them they can achieve and overcome adversity as their ancestors before them.
Peter N. Stern, 1999, “History also helps provide identity, and this is unquestionably one of the reasons all modern nations encourage its teaching in some form. Historical data and information include evidences about how groups, families, institutions and whole nations were developed and about how they have evolved while holding on to cohesion”. Peter N. Sterns – Harvard graduate and professor of History George Mason University – Why Study History 1999.
Decades of research associate African American youths’ high dignity and positive racial identity with their educational success, behavioral arrangement, and positive emotional functioning (Chavous, Rivas-Drake, Smalls, Griffin, & Cogburn, 2008; Prinz, 2009; Smith, Levine, Smith, Dumas, &).
The African American Students are dropping out at an alarming rate in the city areas of western, New York. African American youth are being victimized through drug trafficking, gang related violence, and other negative channels that impact our community. Worst of all, society is giving rise to illiterate and uneducated young people who will not be able to make their communities better educationally, economically, and politically.
Sandra Tang, Vonnie C. McLoyd, and Samantha K. Hallman, 2015. In addition to contending with significant economic and contextual risk factors, African American youth also contend with negative social regard. Research demonstrates that negative attitudes towards African Americans persist (Gibbons, Gerrard, Cleveland, Wills, & Brody, 2004; Prelow, Danoff-Burg, Swenson, & Pulgiano, 2004) and that African American youth are aware of these attitudes (Brody et al., 2006; Okeke, Howard, Kurtz-Costes, & Rowley, 2009). A majority of these youth frequently report discrimination in a variety of social contexts (e.g., school, community; DuBois, Burk-Braxton, Swenson, Tevendale, & Hardesty, 2002; Fisher, Wallace, & Fenton, 2000). In one study, 75% of African American youth reported being hassled by a store clerk or guard because of their race (Fisher et al., 2000), and in another study, 77% experienced at least one discriminatory event in the previous three months (Prelow et al., 2004). Perceptions of discrimination relate to decreased levels of self-esteem among African American youth (Dotterer, McHale, & Crouter, 2009; DuBois et al., 2002; Neblett, Smalls, Ford, Nguyên, & Sellers, 2009). To promote adjustment and well-being for these youth, it is important to identify protective mechanisms that buffer the negative impact of discrimination experiences and bolster self-esteem.
Many things that the poor, urban, Black child looks upon in the curriculum¬ is, to a degree, a contradiction of his cultural style and a threat to his own self-esteem. The curriculum provides ethnocentric and class-centered experiences that serve to keep the disadvantaged Black child in a state of powerlessness, frustration, alienation, failure, low self -concept, and a state of lack of control over his life. The entire school experience is constant punishment for the Black child of poverty as opposed to being an atmosphere of reward or positive reinforcement for the middle-class child.
In general, the Black child sees a curriculum that reflects the dominant culture or a curriculum that does not mirror the positive attributes of his race and culture. Subsequently, he begins to perceive himself (as identified with Blacks and poor people) as being powerless, worthless, and incapable of reaching the unreachable star.
The Black man is without any self-confidence; he has no trust in his own race because the white man (European) destructed them and their past; they ruined the culture and knowledge and by destroyed it, now the Black man do not know of any achievement, and as long as you they can be made understood and convinced that did nothing, they can never do anything.
Hence, the important requirement is for African people to use the weapons of knowledge, culture and history to bail out themselves from this psycho logical reliance on complex/syndrome as a mandatory prearrangement for liberation. Let us be reminded that Mark Twain once said that when a country enslaves a people, the first need is to make the globe feel that the people oppressed are subhuman. The next endeavors are to make his country people believe that the suppressed man is inferior; and then, worst of all, to make that man believe that he is inferior (Magubane, 1989). European dominion attempted this in various forms, principally through Eurocentric global miseducation and religion and then by political, economic, military, and psy¬chocultural imperialistic means.
By belittling and disparaging African civilizations and culture, Europeans made an effort to strip/rape African people of their integrity and oneness, their ethos and Africanity, their humanitarian virtue. However, Europeans have not been totally successful in doing so because of the strength, continuity, and adaptability of the African personality.
However, it is significantly important for young African American to oppose ideas of defeat and symbolize ideas of empowerment. Young African Americans must be proud of their culture, ethos, history and knowledgeable of their African legacy. This knowledge establishes the framework for a cultural identity that is positive, which will inculcate in them that they can accomplish big things, irrespective of the color of their skin, just like their ancestor before them.