College Honors Program

Date of Creation


Document Type




First Advisor

Professor Mark Freeman

Second Advisor

Profesor Oliver de la Paz, Reader


Through the qualitative work of narrative psychology, this thesis explores experiences of mixed race individuals who have one white parent, one minority parent, and who grew up in a predominantly white community. The data were drawn from the author’s own first-hand experiences as well as in-depth interviews from three Holy Cross students about their mixed race identities. On the basis of these data, three forms of self-identity were found to be especially salient: the unaware self, the unique self, and the liminal self. The unaware self can be understood as not knowing how one appears to others. The unique self is manifested in a desire to feel special in comparison to others. The liminal self is experienced as a state of “in betweenness,” in the sense of not feeling fully a part of either racial background. The liminal self could be experienced negatively, as if one has to choose which racial group to identify with or when one feels one is only entitled to half a voice. However, the liminal self could also be experienced as a “positive marginality” (Daniel, 1996), as when one sees one’s mixed race identity as an opportunity to explore one’s multifaceted nature and connect with multiple social worlds.