Karen Kwon

Major and Classification


Faculty Mentor

Leland Tadaji Saito, PhD., Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity


Dornsife: Sociology

Research Gateway Project

“Identity Formation Among Monoracial and Multiracial Individuals”

Project Abstract

My research project studies the identity formation of monoracial and multiracial individuals. Specifically, I explore three research questions: how monoracial and multiracial individuals form their own racial identity; whether their familial experiences or social interactions have a more significant impact in the way they racially identify; and in what contexts monoracial and multiracial individuals come to the realization of race. I first created a personal information questionnaire to get an overview of participants’ racial background, awareness about their culture, and parents’ racial identification. Then, I interviewed three monoracial and three biracial/multiracial individuals to gain insight on how they formed their racial identities. During my research, I found that familial experiences and social interactions equally influence the racial identity of monoracial and multiracial individuals. When these individuals come to the realization of race, they are able to distinguish they are different from other individuals and often begin searching for their racial and ethnic niche. This research project establishes the significance of determining a racial identity and how that impacts one’s interactions with family members, friends, and colleagues. Most of all, establishing a racial identity affects the way an individual perceives him or herself.