Title

Internalized racism, perceived racism, and ethnic identity: Exploring their relationship in Latina/o undergraduates

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2007

Abstract

This study sought to investigate if perceived racism and internalized racism are predictors of ethnic identity development in Chicana/o and Latina/o college students. This study also aimed to identify factors that serve as predictors of internalized racism. Finally, this study sought to identify if differences exist between those who self identify as Chicana/o, Latina/o, Hispanic, hyphenated American, or by nationality in terms of ethnic identity, acculturation, internalized racism, Spanish language fluency, and English language fluency. Chicana/o and Latina/o undergraduates who were members of ethnic student organizations were asked to complete an online survey that asked about their ethnic identity, U.S. acculturation, English language competence, Spanish language competence, internalized racism, and perceived racism. A sample of 500 undergraduate students was obtained. Using multiple linear regression this study found: that internalized racism was negatively related to ethnic identity; that Spanish language competence, perceived racism, and English language competence were all positively related to ethnic identity; that U.S. cultural identity and perceived racism were both positively related to internalized racism; and that perceived racism in the media was negatively related to internalized racism. Using Multivariate Analysis of Variance a statistically significant difference in ethnic identity, acculturation, internalized racism, Spanish language fluency, and English language fluency was found between those who identify as Chicana/o, Latina/o, Hispanic, hyphenated American, and those who identify by nationality. The findings of this study point to the negative effects of perceived racism and internalized racism. Moreover, these results indicate the importance of culturally affirmative therapy and educational practices when working with Chicanas/os and Latinas/os. This study also highlights the heterogeneity of the Chicana/o and Latina/o community. Additional research is needed to further understand the heterogeneity of the Chicana/o and Latina/o community.