Today’s young people are growing up in an increasingly ethnically and racially diverse society. How do we help them navigate this world productively, given some of the seemingly intractable conflicts we constantly hear about? In Below the Surface, Deborah Rivas-Drake and Adriana Umaña-Taylor explore the latest research in ethnic and racial identity and interracial relations among diverse youth in the United States. Drawing from multiple disciplines, including developmental psychology, social psychology, education, and sociology, the authors demonstrate that young people can have a strong ethnic-racial identity and still view other groups positively, and that in fact, possessing a solid ethnic-racial identity makes it possible to have a more genuine understanding of other groups.
During adolescence, teens reexamine, redefine, and consolidate their ethnic-racial identities in the context of family, schools, peers, communities, and the media. The authors explore each of these areas and the ways that ideas of ethnicity and race are implicitly and explicitly taught. They provide convincing evidence that all young people—ethnic majority and minority alike—benefit from engaging in meaningful dialogues about race and ethnicity with caring adults in their lives, which help them build a better perspective about their identity and a foundation for engaging in positive relationships with those who are different from them.
Timely and accessible, Below the Surface is an ideal resource for parents, teachers, educators, school administrators, clergy, and all who want to help young people navigate their growth and development successfully.
Deborah Rivas-Drake is professor of psychology and education at the University of Michigan. Adriana J. Umaña-Taylor is professor of education in the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
“This is essential reading for all who wish to understand how to help adolescents navigate the critical developmental task of identity formation in our diverse society. Below the Surface is a beacon of intergroup empathy and understanding, providing tangible strategies for thoughtful engagement in complicated but crucial conversations with young people.”—Carola Suárez-Orozco, coauthor of Learning a New Land
“The authors of Below the Surface are rising stars in their field. In this fast-paced and accessible book, they engage with the research on race-ethnicity, social justice, and cross-cultural communications for adolescent and college-age youth development, and their analysis is on target. The wonderful final chapter alone is worth the entire book and should be required reading.”—William E. Cross Jr., University of Denver
"This book is an absolute pleasure to read. It is timely and beautifully written by two scholars who have enjoyed a long and productive collaboration. The topics covered are a valuable review for researchers who study ethnic-racial identity development. What makes the volume especially appealing is that it also speaks to parents, educators, and anyone else committed to helping today’s youth navigate the joys and challenges of growing up in an increasingly diverse society."—Sandra Graham, University of California, Los Angeles
Below the Surface is a refreshing and comprehensive review of the current state of the research literature on ethnic-racial identity and socialization processes. It is a must-read for scholars interested in conducting research in the area as well as for practitioners committed to delivering effective educational services to adolescents.—Robert M. Sellers, University of Michigan
“This amazing, brilliant book draws on a range of theories and findings to weave a narrative about race and ethnicity in the United States. The authors, both top-notch researchers in their field, bring together the goals of developing ethnic identity and positive intergroup interactions into one volume. Given the polarized conversation about race and ethnicity happening nationally and globally today, this compelling book could not be timelier.” —Melanie Killen, University of Maryland