ERI Resources

Resources on Ethnic-Racial Identity

"The Need to Foster Ethnic-Racial Identity in School"

American Educator; Rivas-Drake, D. & Umaña-Taylor, A. J.

This article excerpts from Below the Surface: Talking with Teens about Race, Ethnicity, and Identity, a book by Rivas-Drake and Umaña-Taylor on current ethnic-racial disparities and tensions in the US with focus on youth. They conclude by suggesting “that not only can youth have a strong ethnic-racial identity and still view other groups positively, but having a strong ethnic-racial identity actually makes it possible for youth to have a less superficial or more genuine understanding, and therefore value, for other groups.”

Exemplar Factsheets about Race, Ethnicity, and Ethnic-Racial Identity Development 

Understanding Ethnic-Racial Identity Development by Gabe Murchison

Race & Ethnicity in the Classroom by Olivia Wheeler

Ethnic Identity (Spanish) for Parents by Michael Vazquez

The above factsheets were created by students in Dr. Umaña-Taylor's H608 Ethnic-Racial Identity Development course at Harvard Graduate School of Education. 











Resources to Manage Classroom Dynamics around Ethnic-Racial Identity 

Through our research, we have learned that a strong sense of ethnic-racial identity can lead to positive outcomes for adolescents, especially those who experience ethnic- or race-based discrimination. The development of ethnic-racial identity is a complex process, as teens explore what their race and ethnicity mean to them, try to understand the role of their race and ethnicity in their everyday lives, and decide how they feel about that aspect of themselves. The Identity Project curriculum was designed to provide adolescents of any ethnic-racial background with tools and strategies that help them explore and understand their constantly evolving identity in relation to their race and ethnicity. However, for educators, it can be difficult to navigate these conversations that may arise during the Identity Project without guidance and support. We offer educators and other adults supporting youth ethnic-racial identity development the below “You May Be Wondering” sheets to offer practical guidance and tools to best navigate conversations about race, ethnicity and identity.

Addressing Racial Jokes 

Should we address all racial jokes?
How do I respond if students make jokes about "acting White"?


Addressing Stereotypes

Not all stereotypes are bad, right? I've heard people say that Asian students are all hard working and high-performing. How can a stereotype like that be harmful?
Why is it so difficult to think of sterotypes for White people? 


Addressing Race and Racism at School 

Will the Identity Project bring up race issues that don't exist in our school and actually create tensions that aren't there? 
Will the topic of ethnic-racial inequities in the Identity Project lead students to wonder or compare which ethnic-racial groups in the U.S. 'have had it worse'?


Supporting Students and Perspective Taking 

How can I support students with their handling of potentially difficult content in the Identity Project after they leave my classroom?
What should I do if, when covering examples of common cultural symbols, students say that a symbol is offensive?
How might highly publicized racial violence be impacting my students and what can I do to support them? 


Addressing Student Questions

 What should I do if I'm a White educator and a student of color says that I shouldn't be teaching the Identity Project because I'm White and I can't understand their ethnic-racial identity or experiences? 
How do I respond to students who are unsure about who to include in their family map?