Race is to a large extent a social construction of which only very little is rooted in genetics or biology. Nonetheless, race and ethnicity continue to serve as major organizing features of our society, and they play a big role in the development of one’s social identity—especially for people whose racial or ethnic category is in a numerical minority. The term ethnic and racial identity (ERI) is commonly used to describe the process of identity development that takes place during adolescence and continues into adulthood. But this is preceded by an equally important process taking place during childhood—a process usually referred to as ethnic and racial identification. Both processes will be covered in this entry.

Ethnic and Racial Identification

Before children can identify with a particular race ...

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