This dissertation examines multiracial student cultural awareness and how their experiences provided them insight into their current educational environment. The multiracial students in this study had significant self-awareness and cultural literacy due to their early identity formation and their continued navigation of disparate cultures. Because these students have received little attention in academic research, this dissertation explored multiracial identity in adolescents and the student experiences in a secondary educational context. This ethnographic study explores the students' experiences through participant observations, in-depth interviews of students, teachers and school administrators, ethnographic reflections and field notes. The dissertation found that students encountered pressures in the school environment which affected their interactions in the school setting with teachers and peers. These encounters could be racially charged, although at times they could be so subtle that adults might not have recognized them as racially charged. In spite of these difficulties the students found supportive teachers and academic success. Based on the study's findings the dissertation proposed a new lens through which to view multiracial student behavior. Since students were sensitive to others expectations, they mold their behavior to conform to these expectations. Through appeasement and objection the student actively chose how to react to others' perceptions of them. Appeasement and objection in response to expectations could have stressful impacts on students as they sublimated portions of their identities in order to better fit into their environments. The dissertation concluded with a discussion of ways that school, teachers and administrators can better support multiracial and minority student development.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. February 2013. Major: Educational Policy and Administration. Advisors: Dr. Gerald Fry and Dr. Peter Demerath. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 309 pages, appendices A-B.
Gudjonsson, Brynja Elisabeth Halldórsdóttir.
More than the sum of my parts: multiracial teen identity development and experiences of appeasement and objection in a mono-racialized context.
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