Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Heather E. Dillaway


Most literature on racial ambiguity focuses on individuals of mixed-race. While this type of literature is invaluable in understanding racial identity and all of its intricacies, the experiences of single-race individuals are marginalized. How do people who are single race experience racial ambiguity? Do their experiences differ from those of mixed-race individuals? For this study, nineteen individuals (single and mixed-race) who consider themselves to be racially ambiguous were interviewed and asked open-ended questions. The transcribed and coded interviews yielded important information on their self-perceptions, what they get mistaken for, how it makes them feel, and how they deal with their racial ambiguity. The findings provide a more complex definition of "racial ambiguity," and also open the door to possible future study on the differentiation between the terms "race" and "ethnicity."

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Sociology Commons