The (Re-)Making of a Black American

Tracing the Racial and Ethnic Socialization of Caribbean American Youth

by Chonika Coleman-King (Author)
©2014 Textbook XII, 236 Pages


Historically, Blacks in the United States have been treated as a homogenous group with little regard for distinctions in ethnicity and immigrant status. However, the growing number of Black immigrants to the United States, and their location at the intersection of immigrant opportunity and racial barriers, has prompted increased interest in the group’s integration experiences. Grounded in the notion that racism is an inescapable marker of the Black experience in the United States, The (Re-)Making of a Black American explores the ways children of Black immigrants from the English-speaking Caribbean come to understand their racial and ethnic identities, given the socialization messages they receive from their parents and their experiences with institutionalized racism and racial hierarchies in a U.S. middle school. This book highlights the contradictions between parental and school socialization messages and the struggle that ensues as Caribbean American youth are forcibly (re-)made into a specific brand of Black Americans.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Introduction
  • Background and Problem
  • Guiding Questions
  • Morristown Middle School and the Issue of Diversity
  • The Caribbean Presence at Morristown
  • Race and Social Class Politics in the Labrger Morristown Community
  • Caribbean American Youth and the (Re-)Making of a Black American
  • Book Overview
  • Chapter One: Historical Contexts, Transnationalism, and Race in the United States
  • Slavery, Capitalism, and the Social Construction of Race
  • Slavery in the Caribbean and the United States
  • A Closer Look at the Effects of Macro and Micro Race Politics
  • Race and the Integration of Black Immigrants in the United States
  • Black Immigrants, Identity Development, and School Achievement
  • John Ogbu’s Contribution to Understanding the Identities of Black Immigrant Youth
  • Moving Beyond Ogbu
  • Race and Education in the United States
  • A New Paradigm for Understanding Links Between Parenting, School Experiences, and the Identity of Caribbean American Youth
  • Racial Socialization: Preparing and Protecting Black Children
  • Factors That Shape Racial and Ethnic Socialization Messages and Their Influence on Youth
  • Caribbean American Youth and the Benefits of a Qualitative Understanding of Racial & Ethnic Socialization
  • Moving Forward: Transnationalism, Racial and Ethnic Socialization, and Identity Negotiations
  • Chapter Two: Life Narratives: Identities in Transition
  • From Rags to Riches: The Life Narrative of Kerry Ann Fisher, Mother of Bryce
  • Hustling for Success: Life Narrative of Marcia Young, Mother of Charles and Elyse
  • Street Smarts and Skilled Labor: The Life Narrative of Mark Young, Father of Charles and Stepfather of Elyse
  • Privilege Begets Privilege: The Life Narrative of Craig Thompson, Father of Jeffrey
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter Three: E(race)ing Socialization: Transnational Scripts, Ethnic Socialization, and Getting Ahead in America
  • The United States as a Training Ground for Learning Race
  • Ethnic Socialization
  • Ethnic Socialization and the Caribbean Value System
  • Hard Work
  • Good Manners
  • Community and Family Engagement
  • Education
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter Four: Caribbean Immigrants, Racism, and Racial Socialization
  • An Unawareness of Race
  • Pat & Craig: This Nonsense Called Racism
  • Kerry Ann: Preparation for Racial Bias and the U.S. Penal System
  • Mark and Marcia: Intraracial Conflicts
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter Five: Racial Socialization at Morristown Middle School: What Caribbean American Students Learn About Race and Racism by Way of the “Not So Hidden” Curriculum
  • White Privilege and the Real Wages of Blackness for Caribbean American Students
  • Examining the Embeddedness of White Privilege Through Achievement Gap Discourse
  • Socialization Conflicts
  • The Role of Caribbean American Students in School Participation Structures
  • Intersections of Social Class and Race: Locating Caribbean American Students in the Racialized Tracking System
  • High-Achieving Caribbean American Students and Ownership Over Classroom Space
  • Learning and Living the Stereotypes: Experiences of Caribbean American Students in Lower-Level Classes
  • Disciplinary Disparities: The Surveillance and Punishment of Black Bodies
  • Excessive and Frequent Discipline of Black Students
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecies and Classroom Disruptions in Majority-Black Classes
  • Academic Expectations and the Engagement of Caribbean American Students
  • Difficulties Participating in Classroom Dialogue
  • Teacher Scrutiny and Assumptions of Students’ Attitudes and Dispositions Toward Learning
  • Teacher Expectations, Student Disengagement, and Perceptions of Resistance
  • Tracking and Interracial Student Relationships
  • Chapter Six: Converging Identities and Realities: Finding One’s Place in the Home, School, and World
  • Complicating Identity Constraints: The Role of Ethnicity and Nationality in Shaping “Racial” Identity
  • Limitations to Self-Identification
  • Understanding the Black Experience
  • Reading Racism: Lessons from Parents, Teachers, and Peers
  • Exploring Race Talk with Parents and Peers
  • Parents’ Personal Examples of Experiences with Racism
  • Narratives of Systemic Racism
  • Peer Groups: Mediating Parental Racial Socialization
  • Course Levels, Peer Groups, and Personal Racism Experiences
  • Ethnic Difference and an Alternative Black Experience
  • Transnational Accounts of Blackness
  • The Internalization of Ethnic Socialization as a Form of Racial Socialization
  • Chapter Seven: The (Re-)Making of a Black American: Findings, Implications, and Recommendations
  • Study Findings
  • Teaching What They Know
  • Disjunctures in Racial and Ethnic Socialization Messages Between Home and School
  • Implications for Practice
  • Considerations for Future Research
  • Educational and Social Policy
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Index
  • Series index


← xii | 1 → Introduction


Headmaster a come, make has’e! Si-down,

Amy! Min yuh bruck Jane collar-bone

Tom! Tek yuh foot off o’ de desk,

Sandra Wallace, mi know yuh vex

But beg yuh get off o’ Joseph head.

Tek de lizard off o’ Sue neck, Ted!

Sue, mi dear, don bawl so loud,

Thomas, yuh can tell me why yuh a put de toad

Eeana Elvira sandwich bag?

An, Jim, whey yuh a do wid dah bull frog?

Tek i’ off mi table! Yu mad?

Mi know yuh chair small, May but it not dat bad

Dat yuh haffe siddung pon di floor!

Jim don’ squeeze de frog unda de door,

Put i’ through de window – no, no Les!

Mi know yuh hungry, Mary yeas

Won’ full yuh up, so spit it out.

Now go wash de blood outa yuh mout.

Hortense, tek Mary to de nurse.

Nick tek yuh han’ out o’ Mary purse!

Ah wonda who tel all o’ yuh

Sey dat dis class-room is a zoo?


XII, 236
ISBN (Hardcover)
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2013 (January)
Immigration Integration Racism Ethnic identity homogenous group opportunity racism
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2014. 236 pp.

Biographical notes

Chonika Coleman-King (Author)

Chonika Coleman-King (PhD in Education, University of Pennsylvania) focuses her professional efforts on addressing racial bias in schools, preparing teachers for diverse contexts, and the racial socialization of Caribbean immigrants. She is Assistant Professor of Urban-Multicultural Education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.


Title: The (Re-)Making of a Black American
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251 pages