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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Ethno-Racial Boundary Making and Iranian-Identifying Americans


Iranian-identifying Americans have been described as an ethnic group that exists between racial boundaries. Some believe Iranian-identifying people should be classified as White but others disagree. To examine individual Iranian-American perspectives on their ethno-racial identity, I utilize semi-structured qualitative interviews conducted over the duration of 3-4 months from the greater Los Angeles area. I organized participants’ analyses of their identity categories recounted in these interviews into boundary-making strategies. Results entail boundary-making strategies that were classified in the following four categories: dis-identification with White, identification with Aryan, an emphasis on mixing, and reclassification. Responses suggest there may be identifiable patterns emerging in ethno-racial classification based on demographic information.

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