Examine the presence of psychological concepts in Williams' narrative.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one of the strongest psychological constructions of racism in Williams' narrative is how race impacts the individual view of self.  This holds profound psychological impact on the young Williams.  Having to change his name, live in a different part of town, and, all the while, continue to reexamine his own sense of self are examples of the realities that the issue of race causes within the individual's psyche.  This psychological condition tears at Williams socially who finds rejection from White society because he is not one of them and also from Black society because he is not perceived to be one of them, either.  The lack of solidarity has a profound psychological impact on the young Williams.  

There is a condition of liminality that race has on Williams from a psychological point of view.  This becomes where race's impact on one's psychology is evident.  Constantly navigating the valences of acceptance and ostracizing is where Williams' psychological makeup becomes impacted by race and the social implications of racial identity.  As an adolescent already seeking to understand himself, race is shown to add an intricate ambiguity to how Williams defines himself and his condition of living "on the color line."

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