Alternative Title

Experiences of mixed race individuals who are perceived as White

Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type



School for Social Work


Racially mixed people-Race identity, Race, Identity (Philosophical concept), Identity, Mixed race, Multiracial, White privilege, Oppression, Monoracism


This qualitative exploratory study examines the experiences of mixed race individuals who are perceived as White by others based on physical appearance. Literature on the mixed race population has only more recently focused on the phenomenon of racial misrecognition, or the incongruence between racial identity and racial perception by others. This study seeks to advance this literature by exploring the experiences of individuals who have a particular form of racial misrecognition where they hold a non-dominant racial identity and yet are perceived as White by others. The study explored racial identity, racial markers, disclosure and passing, family context, experiences of privilege and oppression, and person of color identity in interviews with the 14 participants. This study highlights how these individuals are in unique social locations of understanding the nuances of racial privilege and racial oppression, including forms of monoracism or multiracial oppression. Moreover, this study found that these individuals navigate and negotiate complex positionalities of racial perception and racial identity and are often faced with numerous tensions, dilemmas, and contradictions in their experiences of race. Sitting at the borders of racial identity, the individuals in this study and their experiences help elucidate our understanding of the social construction of race, racial identity, and monoraciality in the U.S.




iii, 160 pages. M.S.W., Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Ma., 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 144-148)

Included in

Social Work Commons