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Keywords:

  • Identity;
  • adolescents;
  • mixed parentage;
  • race

Abstract Theories about “black identity” are discussed in relation to a study of adolescents with one white and one African or African-Caribbean parent. Interview findings on their racial self-definition, attitudes to their mixed parentage, and allegiance to black and white people and cultures reveal a wide range of racial identities and cultural allegiances. Differences are related to type of school, social class, and the degree of politicisation of the young person's attitudes to race. The findings are discussed in relation to the issue of interracial adoption and fostering, and to recent debates about the concept of an “essential” black identity.