Biracial Japanese American identity: An evolving process.

Biracial Japanese American identity: An evolving process.

Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology
Volume 6, Number 2, (May 2000)
pages 115-133
DOI: 10.1037/1099-9809.6.2.115

J. Fuji Collins, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Health & Wellness – Vice Chancellor
University of California, Merced

Explored the complexity of biracial identity development in Japanese Americans, focusing on how Japanese Americans perceive themselves in relation to individuals, groups, and their environment. 15 semistructured interviews with 8 men and 7 women (ages 20–40 yrs), each with 1 Japanese parent and 1 non-Asian parent were conducted. Identity development among participants varied. It was a long-term process involving changes in the individual–environment relationship, which differed in the way individual participants influenced or selected from environmental opportunities, even creating or recreating some aspects. Within a given setting, as youths, the potential for social experiences were relatively fixed and changed only gradually. As adults, there were opportunities for participants to select their own social and geographic settings, providing opportunity for change. In their new environments, participants were exposed to new contacts and role models, acquired new behavioral repertoire, and underwent role transitions. Depending on this, new and different aspects of biracial identity developed. Participants indicated it was an emotional and conflictual process to positive assertion of identity. Before reaching this, all of the participants experienced periods of confusion.

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