Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

James Dobbins (Committee Chair), Kathleen Malloy (Committee Member), Julie Williams (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


African immigrants are continuously migrating to the United States and comprise a major part of the immigrant population. In a recent U.S. Bureau of Census report on foreign-born residents in the United States, African immigrants numbered 364,000 out of 1.6 million foreign-born people of African origin living in the United States (Rong & Brown, 2002). Much of the psychological literature about immigration is framed in terms of issues of adjustment. (Ward & Kennedy, 2001). Despite the growing number of African immigrants and the awareness of incidents of acculturative stress and adjustment difficulties among various immigrant groups, there are limited studies that have examined the adjustment of African groups to racism and racial discrimination in the United States. This study explores the complex and what might be described by some scholars as the somewhat nonexistent relationship between Africans and African Americans within the United States. For the purpose of this discussion the author is hypothesizing that racism plays a prominent role in this dynamic of social "distance" between Africans and African Americans. An emphasis is placed on internalized racism as a variable in the divide that keeps these two groups with common African ancestry from being able to form a larger sense of community.

Separate focus groups were conducted with African American and African participants in an effort to better understand the nature of the relationship between both groups. During focus groups, the origins of prejudice and stereotypes about both groups were discussed, and ways of ameliorating existing social distance was explored.

Participants also completed the Modified Nadanolitization Inventory (Taylor, Wilson, & Dobbins 1972), an internalized racism scale that measures the presence of racist beliefs among participants. Results from this study provides information regarding the role of internalized racism which arose from slavery, colonization, racism, discrimination, and white domination, as applied to the hypothesis of "social distance" in the relationship between Africans and African Americans in the United States. Suggestions for future research studies are also provided.

Page Count


Department or Program

School of Professional Psychology

Year Degree Awarded


Included in

Psychology Commons