A Merger of Two Theories: The Case of Multiracial Asian Identity
MetadataShow full item record
This study takes the case of multiracial Asian Americans, as self-identified "part Asian" as well as another (or multiple) major racial group to determine what influences their racial, ethnic, and overarching group identities as well as how those identities affect other variables. Multiracial Asians were studied for their uniqueness being part of the socially-defined model minority racial group. I used three data sets: the ICPSR National Asian American Survey (NAAS) (Ramakrishnan, Junn, Lee, and Wong 2008), interviews, and HapaVoice.com posts. I conducted 60 in-depth, semi-structured qualitative interviews, informed by the literature and quantitative data from the NAAS, in order to determine what influences their racial and ethnic identity as well as how their racial and ethnic identity influences other things. This descriptive work provides a backdrop against which I merge two major theoretical traditions of identity, namely social psychological identity—using Tajfel's social identity theory—and race and ethnic identity theories—in particular Rockequemore, Brunsma, and Delgado's work on multiracial identity. Numerous trends were found in the data relating to different ways to identify racially, one’s cultural exposure and competency, one’s perceived discrimination, one’s social networks, one’s religious upbringing and affiliation, as well as one’s sense of belonging and the salience and hierarchy of one’s identities. A sense of belonging is conflated for multiracial Asians as they do not feel as though they have a group to which they belong. This is a very important commonality between the two theoretical traditions as is salience and hierarchy. If one does not feel a sense of belonging, there does not exist a strong in-group/out-group distinction which may leave one without a social identity. This lack of belonging can have significant impact on the group in question, as well as other multiracials, in terms of their ability to feel a part of something and collectively organize for their specific needs.
Le, Jennifer Linh (2014). A Merger of Two Theories: The Case of Multiracial Asian Identity. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from