Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Peggy Albers, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jodi Kaufmann, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Joyce Many, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Gertrude Tinker-Sachs, Ph.D.


The immigration debate is not new to the United States; however, today’s heated discussions include strong anti-Mexican sentiments (Bean & Stone, 2012; Hughey, 2012). As Americans attempt to secure borders in an effort to insure safety and economic security, current legislation includes elements of racial profiling against Mexicans that could extend to those who possess varying levels of Mexican blood since physical characteristics tend to guide racial labeling (Aoki & Johnson, 2009; Bernal, 2002; Fernandez, 2002; Quiñones et al, 2011). As an individual of Mexican and White bloodlines, racial categorization has resulted in internal struggles and social dilemmas for me.

The purpose of this dissertation was to gain understanding of my personal multiracial identity development within various social contexts; this study fulfills the requests of theorists seeking to understand multiracial identity development through self-analysis over a lifetime (Binning et al, 2009; Charmaraman & Grossman, 2010; Cheng & Lee, 2009; Miville et al, 2005). This qualitative dissertation used critical autoethnography as its methodology and theories of multiracial identity (Poston, 1990; Root, 1996; Rockquemore, Brunsma, & Delgado, 2009) and LatCrit (Aoki & Johnson, 2008; Solórzano & Bernal, 2001; Tate, 1997; Valdes, 1997; Villalpando, 2004; Yosso, 2005) while considering the impact of Whiteness Studies (Jay, 2005; Jeffries, 2012; Yeung, Spanierman & Landrum-Brown, 2013), and the cultural process of naming (Boris, 2005). The research questions guiding this dissertation were: How have I internalized and interpreted encounters related to racial identification, and what does being multiracial mean to me?

The presentation of findings included narrative analysis of visual and audio data sets located on a personal website that accompanies this study; online presentation of this study provides an opportunity to explore multiracial identity development in a space that has potential for impacting change due to popularity and accessibility (Bamford, 2005; Lang, 2002; Lange, 2008). Findings revealed complexities and fluidity in multiracial identity development as well as problems of self-identifying as monoracial. The significance of this study is that it will contribute to ongoing discussions of multiracial identity development as well as add to the growing body of literature related to LatCrit Theory, Whiteness Studies, and autoethnographic studies.