According to the Black Youth Project, a new study has found that Black people who have a strong racial identity tend to be happier than those who are “confused.” The researchers, at Michigan State University, claim that this is the first study to show a link between well-being and racial identity. It makes sense when you consider young people who’ve gone astray trying to find themselves, including President Barack Obama, who says that his mixed-race identity played a part in his decision to try cocaine as a teenager.
“This is the first empirical study we know of that shows a relationship between racial identity and happiness,” said Stevie C.Y. Yap, doctoral candidate in psychology at MSU and lead researcher on the project. Previous research has found a relationship between racial identity and favorable outcomes such as self-esteem, Yap said, but none has made the link with happiness.
The work is to be published in Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, a research journal published by the American Psychological Association.
According to Yap, the sense of belonging is what drives happiness. By feeling that they are part of a group, people are more likely to understand their sense of purpose and connection to a broader group. This may also translate into the importance of learning history and family traditions.
So, the moral of the story is to make sure your kids know who they are, and figure out who you are, too. You’ll probably be happier because of it.