The author explores the ethnic and racial identity formation among high school and college students of racially mixed heritage. The portraits in this book provide a thorough examination of the dynamic ethnic and racial lives of a multifaceted and growing segment of students. Unlike most recent projects on mixed heritage people which are narrow in scope and focus on one set of backgrounds (e.g., black and white or black and Japanese), the subjects in this study represent a vast array of heritages, including those of dual minority ancestry.
The students’ stories speak volumes about the uneven nature of racial and ethnic experience within and across traditional communities in contemporary U.S. society. Unlike studies analyzing broad intergroup processes, this work begins by examining the cultural dynamics of the home, contributing valuable insights into the otherwise invisible lives of mixed heritage families. Processes of enculturation and discourse acquisition are considered in the development of ethnic identity. The book also helps to frame how changes within the U.S. racial ecology lead many recently mixed heritage individuals to see themselves as occupying (un)common ground. Finally, this work offers recommendations for educators concerned with creating school contexts that are critically supportive of human diversity.