Dimensions of Belonging as an Aspect of Racial-Ethnic-Cultural Identity: An Exploration of Indigenous Australians

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Abstract

Sense of belonging is a key aspect of racial and ethnic identity. Interestingly, there is little exploration of the multiple characteristics of belongingness within the racial and ethnic identity literature. Through individual interviews and a focus group, we explored the sense of racial-ethnic-cultural (REC) belonging among 19 self-identified Black Indigenous Australians (Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders). Using dimensional analysis, we uncovered 5 core interrelated dimensions of REC belonging: History/Memory, Place, and Peoplehood; Sense of Community; Acceptance and Pride; Shared Language and Culture; and Interconnections. We also uncovered 3 main barriers undermining participants' sense of REC belonging: phenotype, social identity, and history of colonization.

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