Brothers of the Trade: Intersections of Racial Framing and Identity Processes upon African-Americans and African Immigrants in America - Ancestral Kinsmen of the American Slave Trade
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The "implicit rules" of the white racial framing shape meanings, structure interactions, and impose identities upon all who enter American society. The context of this current study conceptualizes how this racialized frame differentially shapes the experiences of native African-Americans and African immigrants in America, disrupting associations between these ancestral kinsmen and subsequently interrupting identity processes. The body of knowledge now available depicts the relationship between native and immigrant blacks as "socially-distanced," "divided," "conflicted" – as disconnected. However, I argue that such characterizations – symbolic of the divisive influence of racial structures rooted in America's slave past – evolve from inappropriate evaluation of black behavior within white racial contexts that do not support or encourage such expression. This current mixed-method study re-examines the relationship between native and immigrant blacks from an africentric perspective – a view that captures the authenticity of black behavior in the service of its full development and potential. Based on data obtained from 40 respondents (20 African, 20 African-American) at a Historically Black College/University (HBCU), this study informs our understanding of the workings of the white racial frame and its impact upon identity processes, specifically for native and immigrant blacks in America. This research found that absent the influence of the white racial frame upon identity processes, native African-American and African respondents freely interact and fully express identification with a shared ancestry and heritage; that the most significant disconnect in the relationship exists in identification with a common history given the separation experienced as a direct result of the American slave trade. This separation – still perpetuated today by American racial constructs' divisive characterizations – accounts for the differential experiences and motivations of native and immigrant blacks within American society. As a result, native and immigrant blacks do not contextualize or interpret racial experiences in the same manner, giving birth to the misconception that their identification with each other does not emanate from a shared heritage and promoting as an obvious rift, obscure tensions bred by the white racial framing of American society.
Williams, Veeda V. (2011). Brothers of the Trade: Intersections of Racial Framing and Identity Processes upon African-Americans and African Immigrants in America - Ancestral Kinsmen of the American Slave Trade. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from