This qualitative study critically examined how African immigrants experience racialization and the process of developing Black racial consciousness. Focus group interviews were conducted to sample the collective racial experience among African immigrants. Thematic analysis was used as the basic methodology for analyzing the data. It was discovered that the participants "become African" and also "become Black" during the process of racial identification. "Becoming African" and "Becoming Black" constituted two sets of processes that simultaneously shaped the identity of African immigrants as they assimilated into the United States. From the study it became evident that there was tension between ethnic identification as African and racial identification as Black. Most of the participants affirmed their ethnic identity as African over their racial identity. Using the culturalist racist discourse as the conceptual framework, I argued that ethnic definitions do not overturn the negative connotations of blackness. Rather, it assumes the contemporary colorblind nature of American society while the system of racism stays the same.


Sachi Sekimoto

First Committee Member

Christopher Brown

Second Committee Member

Shannon Miller

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Studies


Arts and Humanities

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



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