Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Racially mixed people-Race identity, Belonging (Social psychology), Qualitative research, Mixed-race, Multiracial, Biracial, Sense of belonging, Optimal distinctiveness theory, Biracial identity resolution model, Environmental influence, Racial categorization, Racial miscategorization, Physical racial ambiguity, Identity resilience, Reslience (Personality trait)


Multiracial individuals can be racially misidentified by others based on the environment and the other person's racial point of reference. This qualitative study explores the ways the environmental context impacts how Mixed-race adults are racially perceived by others and the impact it had on their sense of belonging to their racial group(s). A total of 36 Multiracial adults participated in in-person, Skype, and phone interviews about the types of environmental messages they receive and how they navigate these messages. Participants described various common themes about the Multiracial experience such as: family and community racial socialization, feeling 'othered', physical racial ambiguity, identity resilience, and sense of belonging to their self-identified racial group(s). Participants expressed how other's perception of their identity shifted based on environment; however, often their personal views of their identity remained the same. Participants also expressed having unique knowledge and strength due to their Multiracial background. Study results indicate that the Mixed-race participants shared similar experiences compared to the Multiracial literature. This study adds new knowledge to our understanding of Multiracial experiences and raises questions about where Mixed people stand in regards to the US current race politics and identity-related resiliency and adaptation.




v, 111 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2015. Includes bibliographical references (pages 89-94)