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A ground breaking study conducted by researchers at Northwestern, Loyola, and Walden Universities has turned sociologists on their proverbial axis.

After studying more than 250 Black adolescents, all of whom hail from stereotypical Black surroundings, researchers discovered that raising youths’ feelings regarding ethnic pride around the 7th and 8th grades, resulted in significantly higher mental health while raising their self-esteem above the norm.

This finding proves that having a firm grasp of one’s racial identity, and allowing them the opportunity of knowing “who” they are, is a vital tool in the achievements and sustenance of a healthy mental capacity.

The research also proved that knowledge combined with a positive outlook of one’s racial identity served as a strong buffer against depression for boys.

“These findings imply that ethnic pride is important to African-American adolescents’ mental health for other reasons than it simply makes them feel better about themselves as individuals,” said associate professor of human development and social policy at Northwestern Jelani Mandara, in the November/December issue of Child Development Health Journal. “These findings also imply that ethnic pride may be as important as self-esteem to the mental health of [Black] adolescents.”

All it took was one study to pinpoint a serious issue that has been plaguing the Black community since we were brought here centuries ago. For those who feel that we should get over the “fleeting” effects of a practice long gone, well, they obviously cannot know what it is to be robbed of one’s entire heritage.

As a people, we are still reeling from a system that still has a grasp on us, and though it may not be as obvious as the overseer’s whip or a Jim Crow-Segregation Era lawman, the traps and perils are still there to complete the same goals that existed before.

If you don’t know your history, you are bound to repeat it, so let’s educate one another in an effort to achieve the greatness that has eluded us as a collective people.

We are Americans, but we must never forget WHO we are, or from whence we came.

2010: Immerse yourself in Black History…not just for a month, but daily. Make your ancestors proud!