Researchers have long been intrigued by the processes by which young children transform nascent notions of race into mature identities in a racialized sociocultural context. Research on racial identity dates back more than 50 years and has produced findings that have influenced profound changes in social policy in the United States. Specifically, seminal studies by Kenneth and Mamie Clark were cited in support of the landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education, which concluded that segregated schools were not equal, resulting in the court order to desegregate public schools throughout the United States.

Racial Identity Development Theories

Below is a brief overview of theories explaining racial identity development. Within this literature, two overarching theoretical approaches have been used to conceptualize racial identity development. ...

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