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Racial Self-Identification in Children of Immigrants

Modern immigration practices and the complications related to permanent residence in a foreign country are significant topics for scholars worldwide. Ethnic and racial differences that often become evident during immigration can considerably impact the individuals involved, resulting in changes connected to self-awareness and cultural belonging (Fozdar and Volet 52). In this regard, of exceptional interest are the children of immigrants who only begin to develop the understanding of their self-identification and might be affected by the changes in location or immigrant status.

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Establishing one’s racial identity is a crucial process in the understanding of the self, which allows determining belonging to a particular social group. This process is especially vital in the childhood and adolescent years, when the concepts of self-awareness and identification begin to form (Behtoui 344). Therefore, children of immigrants, either relocated with their family or born in a different country than their parents, can experience a significant impact of novel conditions or social status, which influences their understanding of themselves.

Nonetheless, the processes undergoing change in children’s self-identification remain relatively undiscovered. Although it is established that several factors can contribute to the shift in racial identity, from self-perception to family ties and socio-economical condition, the exact functioning of these mechanisms is yet to be uncovered (Mowen and Stansfield 334). Currently, a positive correlation between the parents’ expression of their cultural origin and the children’s identification with a specific ethnicity is reported (Schneider 68). It is also suggested such attributes as social status, the community’s racial diversity, and the level of assimilation might prompt the young individuals’ to alter their identification in favor of the culturally dominating group.

To conclude, the dynamics of self-identification in the children of immigrants remains a crucial topic in the modern environment. Identifying the characteristics of these processes and adaptation strategies implemented by the young generation are essential for the understanding of ethnic integration into foreign communities. Furthermore, research into this phenomenon can reveal vital information about the flexibility of racial self-identification, clarifying how various internal and external factors influence this concept.

Works Cited

Behtoui, Alireza. “Constructions of Self-Identification: Children of Immigrants in Sweden.” Identities, vol. 28, no. 3, 2021, pp. 341–60.

Fozdar, Farida, and Simone Volet. “Cultural Self-Identification and Orientations to Cross-Cultural Mixing on an Australian University Campus.” Journal of Intercultural Studies, vol. 37, no. 1, 2016, pp. 51–68.

Mowen, Thomas J., and Richard Stansfield. “Probing Change in Racial Self-Identification: A Focus on Children of Immigrants.” Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, vol. 2, no. 3, 2016, pp. 323–337.

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Schneider, Jens. “‘Ausländer’ (Foreigners), Migrants, or New Germans? Identity-Building Processes and School Socialization Among Adolescents From Immigrant Backgrounds in Germany.” New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, vol. 2018, no. 160, 2018, pp. 59–73.

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