Friendship Network, Socialization and Racial Identity

Yilan Fu, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The consensus has long been established in sociology that race and ethnicity are the invention of social construction. Drawing on the social construction of race, this study tests the hypothesis that the construction of racial identity among adolescents occurs by the socialization process. The main objective is to understand how friendship network, especially its racial composition influence adolescents’ racial identification taking advantage of a panel of 180 ancestral genetic markers to control their bio-ancestry. The results show that adolescents’ racial identity is largely consistent with the racial identity of the majority of their friendship network members. And for those adolescents with multiple racial heritages, even given the same composition of bio-ancestries, their racial identity varies, emphasizing the predominance of social and cultural heritage. The variation on racial identity among adolescents with same bio-ancestries is largely explained by their friendship network racial composition, indicating the influence of socialization.

Presented in Poster Session 3