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Black MosaicThe Politics of Black Pan-Ethnic Diversity$
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Candis Watts Smith

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479823543

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479823543.001.0001

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From Group Membership to Group Identification

From Group Membership to Group Identification

(p.69) 3 From Group Membership to Group Identification
Black Mosaic

Candis Watts Smith

NYU Press

This chapter discusses the group boundaries of Black identity. These boundaries have traditionally been shaped by historical and ongoing processes of racialization—the macro and micro processes that ascribe Blacks as stigmatized, lower status in the ethnoracial hierarchy of the United States. African descents have been subsumed through these boundaries into an all-encompassing and homogenized Black identity in a society where internal intraracial (or ethnic) differences are less important than interracial differences. The chapter also examines the transition from embracing an ascribed racial or ethnic group label to feeling a sense of attachment with other individuals who have also been placed in that category. It identifies five stages that a Black person experiences as his or her racial identity evolves: pre-encounter, encounter, immersion-emersion, internalization, and internationalization-commitment.

Keywords:   Black identity, group boundaries, racialization, ethnoracial hierarchy, intraracial differences, William Cross

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