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A growing number of multi-racial students will face new challenges while attending college. Image by Ivy Coach.

Even though the U.S. census shows a growing population of multiracial people, there is a lack of research regarding the experiences of mixed-raced college students. Vast evidence exists regarding the prejudice and discrimination experienced by monoracial minority students. There have also been hints of similar essentializing and exclusionary experiences from the minimal research on multiracial identity formation, development, and challenges. With this in mind, Museus, Sariñana, and Ryan conducted research to determine how mixed-race students cope with prejudice and discrimination.

Interviewing college students at East Coast institutions, the authors found that students used four main coping strategies in response to prejudice and discrimination: 1) educating people about mixed-race identity through informal conversations and formal campus programming; 2) using support networks such as campus clubs and friends; 3) practicing fluidity in their identities by focusing on the features they shared with whichever racial group they were currently with; and 4) averting conflict by avoiding specific places where they might face discrimination or choosing to minimize derogatory comments made by peers.

This research highlights the need for campuses to acknowledge and support the unique experiences of multiracial students by infusing multiracial issues into the curriculum, supporting the situationally fluid identities of students, offering multiracial campus clubs, and providing campus-wide racial and multiracial dialogues, as well as other educational opportunities.

Read the full article here:

Samuel D. MuseusSusan A. Lambe Sariñana, & Tasha Kawamata Ryan, A Qualitative Examination of Multiracial Students’ Coping Responses to Experiences with Prejudice and Discrimination in CollegeJournal of College Student Development, 2015.


Colleen Rost-Banik is a graduate student at the University of Minnesota who studies race, gender, and sexuality in education.