multiracial, higher education, Communication Accommodation Theory
Race has primarily been studied from a monoracial perspective, which prohibits multiracial individuals from expressing themselves because their racial identity does not fit into the neatly, pre-established monoracial categories. Previous research has found that multiracial students experience life in ways that are unique compared to their monoracial peers. Multiracial students are often required to conform to socially constructed monoracial boxes and have negative experiences surrounding racial identity development, racism/microaggressions, and lack of demographic categorization. The multiracial population in America is steadily growing, and if current trends persist, will only continue to do so. As a result, an increased number of multiracial students on college campuses are expected. The purpose of this study was to learn about racial identity beyond a monoracial paradigm. This paper explores multiracial student identities within higher education at a public university in the Pacific Northwest using Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT). Through interviewing eleven students, racial identity development, challenges, and coping strategies for mixed-heritage students were identified. The concepts of convergence and divergence– both deriving from CAT, were utilized to analytically comprehend the challenges and coping strategies mixed-heritage students employ.
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Okamoto, Haley K. M.
"Mixed Plate: Exploring Multiracial Student Identities Within Higher Education,"
PSU McNair Scholars Online Journal:
1, Article 4.