Creating the Covers of Our Own Books: A Look at Multiracial Identity Communication

Creating the Covers of Our Own Books: A Look at Multiracial Identity Communication

Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington
December 2011
63 pages

Helyse Sina Turner

A Thesis Presented to the Faculty in Communication and Leadership Studies School of Professional Studies Gonzaga University, In Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership Studies

Today’s world is diverse. Different races, ethnicities, and cultures increasingly intermingle and the population of multiracial people has increased. What is increasingly clear is that first-glance judgments about a person’s racial background can no longer be made with presumption of guaranteed accuracy. And socially, multiracial people are burdened with explaining who they are racially to others. To better understand this situation, this study examined the ways in which multiracial people communicate their backgrounds. Four research questions were posed, targeting nonverbal communication of race, reasons behind decisions to racially self-identify in a specific way, effect of the increasing multiracial population in the United States, and racial identity revision. Data was gathered through a survey and focus groups. The data was then examined using various identity, racial, biracial, and multiracial theories as lenses. The results of the study shed light on multiracial communication, nonverbal expressions of race, comfort and self-identity. Also significant is the adaptation of Root’s biracial theory and Renn’s multiracial college student theory to form another theory regarding multiracial identity development. Suggestions and recommendations for future research are also provided to help better understand multiracial communication and multiracial self-identification.

Read the entire thesis here.

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