Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research 17:4 (2017), pp. 267–281. DOI: 10.1080/15283488.2017.1379907


Copyright © 2017 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Used by permission.


The purpose of this inquiry was to explore the lived experiences of multiethnic-racial individuals (i.e., individuals with parents from different ethnic-racial groups). In-depth interviews were conducted with 29 adults from the United States with mixed ethnic-racial backgrounds ranging in age from 18 to 52 (female n = 20, male n = 9). We identified a number of themes related to perceived benefits (e.g., pluralistic world views, stronger sense of self) and challenges (e.g., identity tensions, communal concerns) of having a mixed heritage. Findings are discussed in terms of four considerations for ethnic-racial identity of individuals with mixed ethnic-racial backgrounds: emphasizing constellations of experiences, life-span and developmental considerations of identity, (mixed) ethnic-racial identity as constituted in interactions, and the potential promise of pluralistic world views.