Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Identity Development

When reading about the Black identity development model as described by Sue and Sue (2008), I found the first stage distressing, not as a person of any race in particular, but from a human standpoint, that anyone of any race would be stranded in a position of self-hatred and low self-esteem which, of course would contribute to poor mental health. I recently read an (old) interview with Jesse Jackson about Black youth today following the likes of rappers and adhering to somewhat gangster-like behavior (Frontline, 1997). I think mass media has a tremendous affect on today's youth - youth of all colors. And I think it contributes to minorities feeling stuck in the cultural marginalization that is so pervasive and provoked in music, tv, and other places as well.

Not only does mass media present negative images of black teens (especially boys) to Whites, but it also creates role models for these young black people of color. Jesse Jackson called it the model of recycled jail culture (Frontline, 1997). I believe the media is a big part of cultural marginalization and the systemic racism in this country. I know I use the term systemic racism a lot, but that's how it seems to me, that our system is fundamentally White, and it is forced on everyone (even Whites who do not necessarily believe in the system.)

Frontline. (1997). The two nations of black America/interview with Jesse Jackson. PBS. Retrieved June 21, 2012, from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/race/interviews/jackson.html

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