Black Americans have historically been excluded from societal associations and faced wavering instability in their households, forcing them to work together for their individual and collective well-being. In past research, more than half of Black American students enrolled in school opted to pursue social or educational careers. Findings suggest that Black Americans’ occupational development is influenced by their family and community ties. In this conceptual paper, the foundation of the development of identity in African American culture is presented, as it relates to occupational decision-making. First, we discuss the influences of general identity development on occupational decision-making. Second, we argue that Black cultural identity is multidimensional, with strong community and family factors that play a special role in occupational choice. Third, we suggest future research paradigms to link racial identity, culture, and occupational choice among Black American students. By exploring the fundamental beliefs of Black cultural identity, and how they buffer against each other, Black American students will be better able to make occupational decisions.
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