Racial identity tied to happiness, study finds
Published: March 04, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Black people who identify more strongly with their racial identity are generally happier, according to a study led by psychology researchers at Michigan State University.
The study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, appears in the current issue of Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, a research journal published by the American Psychological Association.
“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.
For the study, the researchers surveyed black adults in Michigan. The results suggest the more the participants identified with being black – or the more being black was an important part of who they are – the more happy they were with life as a whole, Yap said.
The study also explored the reasons behind the connection. Yap said it may be fueled by a sense of belongingness – that is, blacks with a strong sense of racial identity may feel more connected to their racial group, which in turn makes them happy.
This sense of belongingness is especially important for happiness in women, Yap said.
“For men, the potential factors relating identity to happiness is still an open question,” he said.
Yap’s fellow researchers are Isis Settles, MSU associate professor of psychology, and Jennifer Pratt-Hyatt, assistant professor of psychology at Northwest Missouri State University.
Contact: Andy Henion, University Relations, Office: (517) 355-3294, Cell: (517) 281-6949, Andy.Henion@ur.msu.edu; Stevie Yap, Psychology, Office: (517) 339-3966, firstname.lastname@example.org
» » » » [Michigan University, via Nat. Policy Inst.]
» » [Ph.D. Theses: Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology: PDF: Mediators of the Relationship Between Racial Identity and Life Satisfaction in a Community Sample of African American Women and Men]
Ethnicity a basis for rather than threat to democracy and freedom, Tartu conference concludes
03 Dec 2010
Paul Goble, EESTI
Estonian Patriotic Beauty Culture Song: Ühenkoorid - Isamaa ilu hoieldes (X noorte laulupidu 01.07.2 [Ühenkoorid - Patriotic beauty hoieldes]
STAUNTON, December 3 – Many analysts routinely assume that ethnic identity and the individual rights that are the foundation of a free society are competitive or even contradictory, but a conference at the University of Tartu in Estonia this week argued the reverse and suggested that “ethnic identity [itself] is the main precondition for democracy and freedom.”
Without a strong sense of ethnic identification, its participants argued, a society will often lack the social cohesion democracy and individual freedom require. Moreover, when one nation ignores the claims of ethnic communities within its population, that undermines the chances for democracy and individual rights.
Hosted this week by the Institute of the Rights of Peoples and the Oriental Studies Center at the Tartu, the conference featured reports by Estonian researchers Eiki Berg, Mart Rannut and Mart Laanemets as well as speeches by Estonian political figures Mart Laar, Mart Nutt and Andres Herkel. And besides Estonians, it drew guests from Udmurtia, Chechnya and Buryatia.
Sven Grunberg, the director of the Institute of the Rights of Peoples, argued that “it is the suppression of ethnic mentality that creates problems and not ethnic mentality or nationalism in and of itself as some tend to assert,” a view that all other speakers echoed in one way or another.
Andres Herkel, an Estonian MP who is vice president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, said that Tallinn will continue to support peoples without statehood. He and other speakers said that the situation in the Russian Federation has fundamentally changed and that this change requires a new approach to such peoples there.
At the end of the 20th century, speakers said according to a press release, “peoples in the Russian empire felt optimistic” about their prospects for retaining their national identities and even achieving statehood, “today [these nations] are in considerably harder conditions,” something that requires new approaches.
According to Herkel, Estonian political figures can and will serve as “effective intermediaries” for these peoples to inform the Council of Europe an dother international organizations about the situation of these nations. “We have always done this before, and our contacts and meetings allow it to do it better still,” Herkel said.
The meeting was dedicated to the memory of Linnart Mäll, an Estonian scholar who was the founder of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, a group that since 1991 has been an advocate for “indigenous peoples, minorities and unrecognized or occupied territories” in national and international forums.
Mäll, who died this past February from cancer, was trained at Tartu State University and the Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies in Soviet times. Between 1969 and 1973, he taught history at Tartu but was dismissed for his anti-Soviet and anti-communist views. Only in 1983 was Mall partially bilitated and allowed to teach again.
An internationally recognized expert on Buddhism, Mäll himself converted to that faith, But he was also an activist not only for Buddhism – he helped to organize both of the Dalai Lama’s visits to Estonia (1991 and 2001) – but for his own nationality, the Estonians, and other numerically small peoples. Sadly, Mäll died of cancer last February 14th.
» » » » [Estonian Fnd. of Canada]
Emerging ethnic democracy in Estonia and Latvia
Vello Pettai, Columbia University
Academic Center for Baltic & Russian Studies
What is "ethnic democracy"?
To many ears, it may sound like an oxymoron. Oxymorons are combinations of two words, which, by virtue of their contradictory meanings, do not logically stand together. As such, oxymorons seem to make little analytical sense, much less have any conceptual value for something like social science. Yet precisely in the realm of politics, where individuals compete for the distribution of societal values, power, and resources, many strategems employed to secure these aims may indeed seek to wed the imposssible. "Ethnic democracy" as a concept and political system fits this bill. As a system of majoritarian political rule in multiethnic states, its aim is to effectively secure the values, power, and resources of a given society for one ethnic group. That is, in a context of significant multiethnicity, a particular political structure is put in place to guarantee disproportionate political (and perhaps other) dominance to one particular ethnic group (often the titular group). At the same time, ethnic democracy seeks to meld elements of participatory democracy with that domination, frequently as a reflection of the superordinate group’s own democratic values or history. There may be an entirely free and open political process, which however is restricted to or dominated by one ethnic group and which is largely meant to serve the ethnopolitical interests of that one group.
Ethnic democracy as a word combination found one of its first uses in Juan Linz’s famous typology of regimes. Linz used it to describe states such as South Africa or Rhodesia under apartheid. Given the explicitly racial bases of these regimes, one might well call these states ethnocracies. However, as Linz noted, the existence of broad participatory democracy among the ruling ethnic (white) groups did merit consideration in the analysis, for it was a particular nuance to the otherwise exclusionary situation. More recent theorizing about ethnic democracy has focused on the case of Israel and its apparently contradictory combination of democratic participation for all minorities together with an explicit designation of Israel as a purely Jewish nation-state. That is, while the country’s sizeable Arab minority (some 18% of the population) has broad rights to participate politically and has been native to the soil for centuries, no contestation has been permitted of the fundamental character of the state as for and in the name of the Jewish people. Thus, a limit to the system exists.
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