Finding a place to be: Ethnic identity exploration of Asian Americans

Abstract

This paper examines the nature of ethnic identity development by analyzing published autobiographical accounts of 39 Asian Americans. Focusing on what previous research indicates is a four-stage ethnic identity formation process, this investigation of the last two stages–ethnic emergence and ethnic identity incorporation–revealed a pattern of exploration and decision-making that results in greater understanding of self-identity and greater self-acceptance as a member of an ethnic minority. The process revealed by the narrators began with a willingness to face previously unaddressed ethnic identity issues, leading to the search for membership in a new and more satisfying group. After a period of exploration, and finding that they were not fully comfortable with either the mainstream American or ethnic culture, the narrators discovered the ethnic minority American group–Asian Americans. The narrators described their movement through these stages to achieve an Asian American identity as positive and self-validating. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of the findings for education and counseling. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)

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