African American identity, experience with racism, and meaning in life among Black college students

Brian Lewis Ragsdale, University of Rhode Island


Experience with racism and its relationship to meaning in life (i.e., the degree to which a person feels the world is a safe and caring place), African American identity, and African American acculturation were explored in a sample of Black college students (N = 48) who attended a predominately White, public, state university in the Northeastern United States. Black men and women who have Black nationalistic ideals and were immersed in Black culture reported more lifetime racist experience than those students who were less immersed in African American culture. As a group, Black women who were under the age of 21 and Black men over 21 reported similar levels of racist experiences while Black women over 21 and Black men under 21 reported similar levels of racist experience. The former group reported experiencing more racism and found these experiences more stressful than the latter group. Black women reported more racist experiences across their lifetimes than other respondents, whereas Black men reported more racism over the past year. Black women reported greater social support from their families than did Black men. Black students who grew up in Black neighborhoods reported greater immersion in Black culture than those students who grew up in White neighborhoods. The confluence of community, family, African American culture, religiosity, and how racist experiences affect the identity development process differently for Black men and women are discussed. ^

Subject Area

Black Studies|History, Black|Psychology, Clinical|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Brian Lewis Ragsdale, "African American identity, experience with racism, and meaning in life among Black college students" (2000). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI9999547.