Navigating the Color Complex: How Multiracial Individuals Narrate the Elements of Appearance and Dynamics of Color in Twenty-First-Century America

  • Sara McDonough
  • David L. Brunsma


Contained herein are interview data for three groups of multiracial individuals including Black-White, Asian-White, and Hispanic-White. While appearance is typically limited to discussions about one’s phenotype as skin color and so forth, the narratives of these multiracial individuals also reveal use of a variety of cultural markers, such as clothing, language, or music, to accentuate, and sometimes facilitate, one’s perceived race or ethnicity by others in context. As the data show, it is not only the context of the spaces of which multiracial individuals have to be aware and gauge as they move through various public and private spaces but also the color of the context that affects the ways in which multiracial individuals can and do navigate their day-to-day lives. Rather than lending credence to the contemporary attempts to deracialize policies and politics, we urge future research to address the inequalities informed by the underlying race-based structures of American society.


Skin Color Racial Identity Black People White People Dark Skin 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA

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