Impact of Discrimination on Identity Development

Children and adolescents are constantly bombarded on all sides by messages from society (e.g., parents, peers, schools, and the media) about what and how they should be. This socialization process includes direct and indirect messages, often biased and stereotypical, about what is considered “normal,” “good,” “ideal,” “acceptable,” etc. in our society. When peoples’ behaviors fall outside the societal expectations (e.g., their behavior does not follow the “rules” of society), they are at risk for experiencing prejudice and discrimination or for being mistreated by others simply because they are different in some way from what is considered the “norm.”

Share your thoughts about how stereotypes, prejudice, and/or the experience of discrimination may impact identity development in adolescents. What are some of the social, psychological, and/or physical consequences of experiencing discrimination?