Tracing the Racial and Ethnic Socialization of Caribbean American Youth
Chapter Three: E(race)ing Socialization: Transnational Scripts, Ethnic Socialization, and Getting Ahead in America
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E(race)ing Socialization: Transnational Scripts, Ethnic Socialization, and Getting Ahead in America
I didn’t know I was Black until I came [to America]. First of all, I thought I was a Jamaican and I was a human until I came here. I figured out that wait a minute, I’m Black. Somebody told me! Because, when I was growing up, my race wasn’t defined. I never knew there was a difference in how I’m supposed to act or what I’m supposed to achieve based on my race. It only occurred to me when I came here.
– Kerry Ann Fisher, mother of Bryce
In the United States, it seems odd to claim to be unaware of racial distinctions and ridiculous to pretend not to know your own race. After all, isn’t it obvious? Can’t everyone determine their own race by a simple glance in the mirror? At the very least, official forms make Americans aware of their racial categorization by pressuring people to check the appropriate box. Notions of race have long been entrenched in the culture and history of the United States and often seem inextricable from the daily lives and lived realities of Americans; however, people outside the United States have histories marked by different narratives, values, and means of self-identification. Many of the Caribbean parents in this study did not see race as an aspect of self-identification prior to migrating to the United States. This chapter...
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