Award Date

8-1-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Anthropology

First Committee Member

Heidi Swank

Second Committee Member

Jiemin Bao

Third Committee Member

Liam Frink

Fourth Committee Member

Rainier Spencer

Number of Pages

126

Abstract

A person's identity is not fixed or stable, rather it changes over time and even from moment to moment (Nagel 1994). Throughout an individual's life he or she constantly cites discourses that relate specific appearances, actions, and behaviors to certain labeled social categories and those discourses make an individual intelligible as an acknowledged type of person (Butler 1990). The self, or identity, that someone presents at any point in time is comprised of the different types of information, both verbal and nonverbal, that the person provides to his audience (Goffman 1959). Labels are one verbal source of information that can both reinforce and subvert the discourses associated with them. Mixed race Asian Americans have a variety of labels to choose from when asserting a racial, ethnic, or national identity to an audience. Through interviews with 21 mixed race Asian Americans (Asian-white, Asian-black, Asian-Hispanic, and Asian-multiple other races), my research examines what factors influence mixed race Asian Americans to choose to assert a particular label at any given moment in time. Since ethnic identity is a result of the interaction of both internal and external opinions (Nagel 1994), my research also investigates how other people select labels to assign to mixed race Asian Americans.

Keywords

Asian Americans; Biracial; Identity (Psychology); Labels; Mixed race; Multiracial; Racially mixed people

Disciplines

Asian American Studies | Ethnic Studies | Social and Cultural Anthropology

Language

English


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