Internalized Racial Oppression in Teresa Ann Willis’ Like A Tree Without Roots


Internalized racial oppression is a multi-dimensional interdisciplinary phenomenon that plagues many ethnic groups in America. However, little attention has been given to this race-based issue. The aim of this research paper is to highlight internalized racial oppression as a socio-psychological phenomenon in the novel of the African American writer Teresa Ann Willis’ Like A Tree Without Roots which is a story of suffering as well as of healing. In this young adult fiction, the protagonist is subjected to an internalized set of values that creates its own cycle of victimization leading to feelings of self-hatred, self-doubt and disrespect for her race and herself. An integral part of this culture is the White standards of beauty. The paper unravels the severe psychological effects of the internalization of Western beauty standards on the identity formation of African American teen girls. The paper focuses on oppression theory in relation to sociology and psychology to analyze the novel understudy. In addition, Liberatory/critical consciousness will be tackled as a concept in the educational system that proves to be highly important to fully comprehend this phenomenon of internalized racial oppression.


Abeer Ibrahim, Maha Hosny, Iman Raslan


internalized racial oppression, liberatory/critical consciousness, Teresa Ann Willis, Western beauty standards, young adult literature


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