Most adolescents who belong to an ethnic minority group wrestle not only with their self-esteem (like most teens), but also with identity issues unique to their ethnic group, such as dealing with social stigma. A new study tells us that young people's ethnic pride may affect their mental health.
The study, carried out by researchers at Northwestern University, Loyola University Chicago, and Walden University, appears in the November/December 2009 issue of the journal Child Development.
The researchers studied more than 250 African American youths from urban, low-income families in an effort to assess the unique effects of racial identity and self esteem on mental health. They found that when young people's feelings of ethnic pride rose between 7th and 8th grades, their mental health also improved over that period, regardless of their self-esteem. Even for those with low self-esteem, the investigators found, a sense of pride in their ethnic group served as a buffer to some mental health problems. Racial identity was a stronger buffer against symptoms of depression for boys than for girls.
"These findings imply that ethnic pride is important to African American adolescents' mental health for other reasons than it simply makes them feel better about themselves as individuals," according to Jelani Mandara, associate professor of human development and social policy at Northwestern University, who was the study's lead author. "The findings also imply that ethnic pride may be as important as self-esteem to the mental health of African American adolescents. Parents, schools, and therapists should expose young people to material and environments that help foster a sense of ethnic pride."
More information: Child Development, Vol. 80, Issue 6, The Effects of Changes in Racial Identity and Self-Esteem on Changes in African American Adolescents' Mental Health by Mandara, J (Northwestern University), Gaylord-Harden, NK, and Richards, MH (Loyola University Chicago), and Ragsdale, BL (Walden University).
So let me ask you all a question...who didn't know this?I hate the fact that for some black folks it has to be validated by a caucasian before it is believed, I mean really we still have to get a caucasian stamp of approval before you believe something that should be self evident? Am I the only one who was aware of this fact? I been trying to install ethnic pride in my brothers and sisters for years. I have been telling them for years that they are descendants of kings and queens and that they had great lands and they come from a great history full of pride respect and dignity. There were even African pharaohs go look it up its true. It is also a fact that if you instill pride and dignity in your child they will make wiser choices, their self esteem will improve they will do better in all aspects and they will make better decisions concerning their future because they know that their lives are worth something and not just meaningless and bullshit. Or that all they should ever aspire to do is to shake their asses with fake ass wigs and weaves, and glitter embossed bodysuits, or play a sport. That they are more than what the media boils them down to be and that they are far capable of greatness versus idiolizing industry thugs, glorifying rappers, and actors, and wild children with marginal talent but an abundance of personal issues.
Give your children dignity and something to hold their heads up about, cut the tv off, and take them to the library, read to them, listen to them, and protect them for God's sake be a real parent and not just a wack facsimile of what a parent should be! Those of you lucky to have children should consider it an honor not just a biological right. It's more then that and you should treat it as such.