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Hearing America’s Youth

Social Identities in Uncertain Times

Catherine Cornbleth

Hearing America’s Youth: Social Identities in Uncertain Times addresses questions of who «we» are. When identity is not a multiple-choice question, how do high school juniors and seniors describe themselves in turn-of-the-century America? What does it mean to them to be American? The self-descriptions of this diverse group of students reveal that one-sixth of the students reject racial/ethnic – or all group categorization – and that most students of mixed ancestry have positive self-images. While strong racial identities are not widespread, racism is emphasized and remains a significant concern. How young people see themselves affects the way they think about and act on and in their lives and worlds, and thus shapes our collective futures.