“What Are You?”: Racial Ambiguity and the Social Construction of Race in the Us Page: I
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Smith, Starita "What are you? ".: Racial ambiguity and the social construction of race in
the U.S. Doctor of Philosophy (Sociology), May 2012, 165 pp., 3 tables, 5 figures, references,
This dissertation is a qualitative study of racially ambiguous people and their life
experiences. Racially ambiguous people are individuals who are frequently misidentified racially
by others because they do not resemble the phenotype associated with the racial group to which
they belong or because they belong to racial/ethnic groups originating in different parts of the
world that resemble each other. The racial/ethnic population of the United States is constantly
changing because of variations in the birth rates among the racial/ethnic groups that comprise
those populations and immigration from around the world. Although much research has been
done that documents the existence of racial/ethnic mixing in the history of the United States and
the world, this multiracial history is seldom acknowledged in the social, work, and other spheres
of interaction among people in the U.S., instead a racialized system based on the perception of
individuals as mono-racial thus easily identified through (skin tone, hair texture, facial features,
etc.). This is research was done using life experience interviews with 24 racially ambiguous
individuals to determine how race/ethnicity has affected their lives and how they negotiate the
minefield of race.
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Smith, Starita. “What Are You?”: Racial Ambiguity and the Social Construction of Race in the Us, dissertation, May 2012; Denton, Texas. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115163/m1/2/: accessed April 25, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; .