This essay on Racial Identity aims to discuss the effect of racial identity on Native Americans.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Native Americans / Alaska Indians constitute approximately 1.6 per cent of the total population of the country, which is estimated to be about 4.9 million (CDC, 2012). Statistics suggest that almost 60 per cent of the Native Americans live in rural areas and on reservations, indicating their alienation from the mainstream society (The Office of Minority Health, 2011), although most of them have shifted to urban areas in search of employment and education in recent times. The community is representative of people in transition, who are now taking active steps in breaking away from their stereotypical representation in the mass media. The Native Americans have been traditionally and consistently been represented as strange, perverted, associated with dangerous backgrounds, and devoid of human emotions (Jolivétte, 2006).
Such misrepresentations of their race in the popular media has a long term and damaging effect on their identities, and has a negative influence on their social acceptance, which in turn deprives them of the opportunity to assimilate in the mainstream society (Blum, 2002). The adolescent Native Americans face even greater setbacks due to their racial identities with regard to their identity development. The behavior and lifestyles of Native Americans are starkly different as compared to the mainstream American culture. The assimilation and migration of the natives, to the urban areas hence, tends to pressurize them to adapt to the cultures and values endorsed by the mainstream culture. This creates stress due to the lack of a support system (Swanson, Edwards, Spencer, 2010).
Furthermore, the Native Americans have resisted and opposed the assimilation with the mainstream society for the longest period of time. It is also because of this reason that they are