Living the multiracial experience: Shifting racial expressions, resisting race, and seeking community

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    30 Scopus citations


    The growing presence and visibility of mixed race persons in the US demands that social workers critically examine and understand the complexity of multiracial identity. This qualitative investigation examined the narratives of ten multiracial adults about their identity experiences living as multiracial persons. Utilizing paradigmatic analysis of narratives, five major themes emerged. Four of these themes correspond to categories found in existing multiracial scholarship, and include: (1) Shifting racial/ethnic expressions; (2) Racial/ethnic ambiguity; (3) Feeling like an outsider; and (4) Seeking community. The final theme, (5) Racial resistance, contributes new knowledge to our understanding of how multiracial individuals respond to societal pressures to conform to traditional means of categorizing others by race. Findings from this study confirm a collective multiracial experience; one with direct ties to the social and environmental pressures associated with having a multifaceted identity in a color-conscious society. Practice implications and directions for future research are offered.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)42-60
    Number of pages19
    JournalQualitative Social Work
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Jan 2012


    • Ethnic Identity
    • Mixed Race
    • Multiracial
    • Narrative Research
    • Racial Identity

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Health(social science)
    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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