Black Mosaic: Expanding Contours of Black Identity and Black Politics

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The increasing ethnic diversity among Black people in the United States is growing at a near exponential rate due to the migration of Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latino, and African immigrants to the United States. This study is an endeavor to understand how this increasing diversity in ethnicity among Blacks in the U.S. will influence the boundaries of Black identity and Black politics. I ultimately aim to gain a sense of the processes by which Black immigrants come to embrace or reject a racial identity, the mechanisms by which African-Americans become more accepting of "cross-cutting" political issues, and the extent to which an intraracial coalition and a broader, more inclusive racial consciousness--a diasporic consciousness--might develop among Black immigrants and African Americans. This study utilizes survey data, in-depth interviews with African Americans and Black immigrants, and controlled experiments to examine the questions presented here. This study finds that African Americans and Black immigrants are accepting of a Black identity that is inclusive of ethnic diversity, largely due to shared racialized experiences. Moreover, this study concludes that while group consciousness influences the behaviors and attitudes of Black immigrants and African Americans in very similar ways, there are important differences between the groups that will need to be considered in future Black politics studies. Finally, this study finds that there are obstacles to raising a more inclusive racial consciousness because African Americans and Black immigrants do not see eye-to-eye on what issues should be be prioritized on a unified Black political agenda.





Watts, Candis S. (2011). Black Mosaic: Expanding Contours of Black Identity and Black Politics. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


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