Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Mixed ethnic identity in the United States Public Deposited

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  • In this paper I focus on the process of formulating an ethnic identity in the United States for individuals of mixed-ethnicity. My main question explores the complexities an individual with parents of separate and distinct ethnic heritages faces when constructing an ethnic identity in our society. American society is reaching a new reality where influences of not only mixed "race", but of an individual's multiple ethnic heritages can be recognized and discussed. Still, American culture has little patience with changing identities between contexts or with an ambiguous identity. Through the combination of research, interviews, and my own life experiences, I explore the many complex influences and conditions which shape an individual's mixed ethnic identity over time. My main informants are individuals whose parents acknowledged an evident and specific ethnic heritage distinct from one another. My informants are a combination of their cultural and biological heritage, leaving them with more flexibility how to construct their own ethnic identity, which may then change through time, based on their unique life experiences. As I traced the formulation of ethnic identity, for individuals of mixed-ethnicity, I found that it is not only shaped by how they see themselves, but also by how others perceive them. Ethnic identity begins with the individual's family heritage, cultural background, language, and personality and is then transformed by political, economic, educational, and other diverse influences of society, which unfortunately also includes prejudice, discrimination, and embellished stereotypes.
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