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Publication Date


Document Type

Honors Project




Ethnicity, Racially mixed people-Education (Higher)-Massachusetts-Northampton, Racially mixed people-Race identity-Massachusetts-Northampton, Women college students-Race identity-Massachusetts-Northampton, Multiethnic, Multiethnicity, Mixed, Mixed race, Biracial, Women's colleges, Race, Symbolic ethnicity, Community, Identity, One-drop rule, Pigmentocracy, Census, Life history, Ethnography


While racial and ethnic demographics in the U.S. continue to diversify, popular discourse and the media increasingly tout the rising number of multiethnic individuals as emblematic of the move toward a post-racial society. Current literature on mixed race studies illuminate the differing structural disadvantages faced by this population based on social location, as well as processes of identity development and formation. Drawing upon thirty loosely structured interviews with fifteen undergraduate mixed women at predominantly white, upper middle class, East Coast women's college, this case study considers embodied lived experiences as a vehicle to better understand multiethnicity in the present moment. An intersectional analysis of these interviews reveals four themes among contemporary multiethnic women: (1) higher socioeconomic status increases access to a multiethnic identity; (2) many multiethnics simultaneously experience ethnic identity choice and constraint; (3) mixed race organizing creates collective consciousness unique to other types of racial/ethnic organizing; (4) access to socially constructed multiethnic spaces depends on class and phenotype. Findings indicate the persistence of pigmentocratic logic embodied by the multiethnic population, exacerbated by colorblind and race neutral ideologies.




97 pages : color illustrations. Honors Project-Smith College, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 85-92)