Essay 1-Racial Identity

Race and racial identity are social constructions aimed at dividing people into groups and social settings based on ranking as superior or inferior. Scientifically, race has no biological foundation since all belong to one race, the human race. Racial identity is very and in a highly racialized society like the United States, individuals are assigned a racial identity; whether they are aware of it or not. Racial identity plays a critical role in the physical and psychological features of individuals. Physically, human beings in different parts of the world endure diverse conditions and environments and adopt to them leading to attainment of unique traits that become adjacent to race (Muscatell et al., 2022). Psychologically, ancestral prejudices and influences throughout history lingers across generations and affect present racial identities and tensions. The purpose of this essay is to describe, based on an interview with a friend, a healthy development of one’s racial identity.

Healthy Development of a Person’s racial Identity

Racial identity development is a social and psychological process that individuals undergo to form an identity associated with a certain racial or ethnic group. When people interact with different racial and ethnic groups, they conduct self-assessment and create an identity based on their knowledge, understanding, experiences and actions. Therefore, racial identity is a social construct that individuals create, maintain and change depending on the dynamics of their social interactions, which occur among people from diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds

Again, racial identity development has a significant effect on the counseling process since it determines the attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs that an individual possesses. Imperatively, therapists and counselors should understand racial identity of their clients to offer unique and customized services based on their identity (NMAAHC, 2023). Racial identity is externally imposed through retrospection on what an individual considers other perceive him or her. Furthermore, racial identity is internally constructed as individuals consider what they identify themselves with in their current context or situation.

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Becoming Aware of Racial, Ethnic or Tribal Identity

Becoming aware of one’s racial, ethnic or tribal identity entails a host of factors that include understand one’s race, social setting and cultural contexts as well as the existing socialization structures in the community. For instance, race as a social construct plays a critical role in racial identity for many individuals, especially those from racial minority groups like African Americans and Asian Americans as well as Native Americans. In this sense, many become aware of their racial identities because of the sociocultural constructs associated or linked to their racial compositions (Nelson et al., 2018). According to my friend, he became aware of his racial identity because of his race or skin color and the kind of terms or words used to describe people with the same skin color. Again, the narrations from his parents about the racial differences and structural racism policies practiced in different parts of the country from a historical perspective allowed him to understand his racial identity and by extension, ethnicity.


Understanding how one’s identity and experience have been shaped by race is critical. Individuals get privileges or disadvantages because of their race, whether or not they are conscious of it. Imperatively, my friend asserted that he became more aware of his racial identity when his parents told him that there are places that he could not interact freely with others without encountering racist utterances and gestures as well as actions that demonstrate certain level of class or expectations. He became conscious of such situations and places.

Moment When Racial, Ethnic, or Tribal Identity was Important

Sociologists and psychologists identify similar patterns each individual encounters when recognizing their racial identity. While these patterns are essential in understanding the link between race and identity, creation of one’s racial identity is a fluid and nonlinear process that varies for every individual and group in society (Nelson et al., 2018). One’s personal experiences, family, community and schools, workplaces, and the aging process as well as political and social events play a part in the understanding of their racial identity. These patterns may dictate certain aspects of the racial identity based on the moments that individuals may consider important or useful along the process.

The racial identity development process varies based on one’s race; either as belonging to the racial minority or racial majority. According to my friend, the moment when his racial identity was important to him was when he realized the need to examine his prejudices and biases after interacting with others at school during his college years. He realization that society always oppresses racially and culturally diverse groups and individuals was critical in his racial identity journey. He believes that understanding the diversity that exists among people is essential and is not about one’s skin color or superiority as advanced by others in society.

Moment when Racial, Ethnic & Tribal Identity was Important to Others

As described, individual’s healthy development of their racial identity is influenced by a host of external and internal factors, with some not having control over them. Diversity continues to be a critical aspect of one developing their healthy racial identity that can have a positive influence on others because it shows that the only race is the human race (NMAAHC, 2023). According to my friend, the moment that his racial identity was important to others occurred during his visit to a mall and theme park when he was a teenager. While he had been told all along that the color of one’s skin determined their superiority in the social ranking in the community, he had never witnessed beforehand the essence of this perspective.

While in these two areas, my friend experienced firsthand account of what it means for one to be from a minority group. Despite being from the majority group, white Americans, he felt that the gestures and the actions of his fellow white people were wrong. The use of terms and words denoting to African Americans in the mall and the theme park was an experience that he believes defined his conceptualization of racial identity. The implication is that cultural socialization of individuals from the racial majority plays a critical role in the development of one’s racial identity.

Benefiting from One’s Racial, Ethnic or Tribal Identity

Racial identities based on their social construction infer benefits or rewards to individuals, especially those considered from the dominant race, ethnicity or tribe. These privileges may include better treatment in certain areas, increased opportunities in employment and participation in social aspects and access to better services. Conformity happens when individuals become aware of their racial identities (Muscatell et al., 2022). These may include having minimal awareness of self as a racial person for those from majority ethnic groups and having a positive attitude and preference for the dominant cultural values for individuals from the minority ethnic group. As such, one benefits from their racial identity when they can access better services, treatment, and associated racialized privileges in different spheres of society like in the criminal justice system through favored legal processes.

Suffering or Missing Out Because of Racial, Ethnic or Tribal Identity

The idea of race is intimately linked to our lives and has fundamental implications. It happens in real and definitive ways that gives benefits and privileges to some while withholding them from others. A core aspect of this is the existence of racial hierarchies in society and the injustice that they have created and continue to perpetuate. Suffering and missing out are the core disadvantages associated with the racial identities that people develop (Flanagin et al., 2021). For instance, racism remains a critical challenge to the American society. Through one’s racial identity, people encounter intentional, clear and direct racism or through subtler ways that the perpetrator may not even be aware in their occurrence. The implication is racial identity cannot allow one to interact with others freely and develop diverse opinions and views in their lives and actions. 

Impact of Racial, Ethnic & Tribal Identity in School

Racial identity impacts one’s experiences at school and other social areas or places like libraries in different ways; either subtly or clearly. Racial identity affects the actions and utterances of individuals even in schools as demonstrated by my friend during the interview (NMAAHC, 2023). He was categorical that his racial identity impacted his interactions and the friends that he could have while at school and even his conduct and perception in the library. This illustrates the critical role that racial identity plays in individual’s life.

Impact of Racial, Ethnic and Tribal Identity

As illustrated, race, ethnicity and tribe are critical issues that impact people in their daily living, especially in a highly racialized society like American. The racial identity that one develops affects their perception of issues in society and how they treat others. The social and cultural norms and values developed by individuals emanate from their racial identity (Del Toro & Wang, 2020). Therefore, racial identity affects my friend based on the decisions and actions that he takes when dealing with issues, values and others in society. His perspectives on issues remain a core part of his racialized approach to matter in society and how he handles them.


The development of a racial identity is critical to all people, especially those with diverse approaches to issues and sociocultural situations in society. As illustrated through the interview, racial identity affects individual’s conception of ideas and the perpetuation of their beliefs. While diversity exists, individuals still make decisions based on their racialized approaches emanating from their racial identities. The implication is that racial identity is socially constructed and affected by race, ethnic and existing cultural hierarchies as perfected by racism and other social aspects.  


Del Toro, J., & Wang, M. (2020). School cultural socialization and academic performance:

Examining Ethnic‐Racial identity development as a mediator among African American adolescents. Child Development, 92(4), 1458–1475. DOI: 10.1111/cdev.13467.

Flanagin, A., Frey, T., Christiansen, S. L., & AMA Manual of Style Committee. (2021). Updated

guidance on the reporting of race and ethnicity in medical and science journals. Jama, 326(7), 621-627. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.13304

Muscatell, K. A., Alvarez, G. M., Bonar, A. S., Cardenas, M. N., Galvan, M. J., Merritt, C. C., &

Starks, M. D. (2022). Brain–body pathways linking racism and health. American Psychologist, 77(9), 1049.

National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) (2023).  Race and

Racial Identity.

Nelson, S. C., Syed, M., Tran, A. G. T. T., Hu, A. W., & Lee, R. M. (2018). Pathways to ethnic-

racial identity development and psychological adjustment: The differential associations of cultural socialization by parents and peers. Developmental Psychology, 54(11), 2166–2180.


Due Date
Sunday, February 5, 2023
11:59 PM
Points Possible

A: Part Write about the healthy development of a person’s racial identity.
Consider these questions:

When and how did you become aware of your racial, ethnic, or tribal identity?
Describe a moment when your racial, ethnic, or tribal identity was important to, or took on a particular meaning for, you.
Describe a moment when your racial, ethnic, or tribal identity was important to, or took on, a particular meaning for, others.
How do you benefit from your racial, ethnic, or tribal identity?
How do you suffer or “miss out” because of your racial, ethnic, or tribal identity?
How did your racial, ethnic, or tribal identity impact your experiences at school? In the library?
How does your racial, ethnic, or tribal identity continue to impact your life today?
The following video will get your creative ideas and critical thinking skills primed. Sometimes hearing other people’s experiences make us more mindful of the constructs we have made up for humans. Our DNA differs more diversity between a race than between 2 different races.

If you are at an age where the question is challenging to remember, you aj interview another person but explain the relationship ( I interviewed my 14-year nephew). If a child is interviewed under 18 years old you will need parental permission. Regardless of age, please change their names and protect their privacy.

Talking to Young Children About Race and Racism | PBS KIDS for Parents

Race is nothing more than a cultural construct. This construct has caused everything from housing discrimination to wars. A significant racial construction that can affect our lives from prejudice to privilege. A helpful definition of a race is a group of people who are perceived as sharing biological features. Importantly, this perception varies by culture because this is not, please excuse the pun, a black-and-white ruling. If skin color is used to distinguish race, where is the cut-off? It’s not obvious because skin color is on a gradient. In other words, race exists, but humanity made it up. There is no biological race. Be that as it may, humans invented race, but it causes tragedies and problems and is not going away.

But skin color, hair color, eye color, and other physical traits are all under the control of genes, so our DNA has something to do with race? It has been proven that the good look different, and it is o a bad thing when our “race” is weaponized against ourselves and others. This is a complex but necessary topic. I am a work in progress and will not take offense to comments that disagree with my journey. Feel free to disagree with me respectfully and further the conversation


2010 Markus Who am I.pdf (

At 74, Walter McFarlane decided to take an AncestryDNA test to learn more about his biological family. His grandmother had raised him, but the details of his biological family were hazy. McFarlane learned that his long-time friend who grew up down the street was his half-brother, Alan Robinson (who had been adopted).

The golden start killer was caught partly because a relative had his DNA tested by either 23 and me or Ancestry .com

Julia Roberts and Edward Norton learned they are related on a TV show.

Since researchers sequenced the chimp genome in 2005, they have known that humans share about 99% of our DNA with chimpanzees, making them our closest living relatives.

All humans share 99.9% of DNA. Clearly, race is just a categorization humans have created and used for negative reasons. Most probably a “you against us” carryover from early humanoids. And yet it is a huge factor in our culture and lives. Racial identity has the potential to be a celebration of diversity; we can and must do better to reach equality so that our differences can be respected and encouraged. This may sound simplistic and naive, but I see the potential of our younger generation because many of them have the skill and gift of acceptance that older generations have lacked.

Essay: Students are to complete and write about healthy racial identity. A cover page and running head are not required.

4-6 pages are the average of an exemplary essay
(3 pg minimum/7 page maximum) not including the reference page
APA 7 th ed. Format with reference page.
Textbook plus at least one other source
Must submit in Bb; emailed essays are not accepted.
All papers will be subject to plagiarism checks.

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