What is Ethnic Ambiguity?
Racial ambiguity is often defined as physical appearances that defy easy categorization within traditional racial categories, but my research focuses on ethnic ambiguity: Uncertainty or inexactness of an individual’s ethnic background or identity based upon that individual’s appearance, name, location, cultural values, behaviors, beliefs, and tendencies that cross or defy categories.
I am a clinical psychologist with over 10 years of experience providing mental health therapy to clients and patients of all backgrounds. My Ph.D. research – and ongoing work – focuses on the phenomenon of ethnic ambiguity: what it means to be ethnically ambiguous and the experiences of those who are ethnically ambiguous in our global, interconnected, and multicultural world.
“What are you?”
Racial identity is both how one identifies themselves internally and how they present themselves externally, typically based upon racial labels present in our collective societal constructs.
Guessing, assumptions, confusion, questions, changeability… Ambiguity is the lack of consistency in descriptive classification – the quality of being open to more than one interpretation; inexactness.
One’s ethnic identity is a multifaceted construct, built over time and made up of explorations, values, behaviors, and beliefs of a particular ethnic group or groups and one’s commitments and attachments to those groups.
Studying Ethnic Ambiguity
What am I? Perceptions and Experiences
“I can’t remember a time where people didn’t ask me what I was. ‘Well, I am A PERSON, like YOU.'”Research Participant
“As a baby, people used to ask my parents if I was adopted because I just didn’t look like them. I looked completely Asian.”Research Participant
- The UNIQUE Ethnic Ambiguity Scale Research Survey – NOW AVAILABLE 🙂Hello friends, Great news! The UNIQUE Ethnic Ambiguity Scale Research Survey is now available and LIVE! To take the survey and enter into the raffle for a chance to win a 23andMe Genetic Testing and Analysis Ancestry Kit (retail value of $99), please click on the following link: The UNIQUE Ethnic Ambiguity Research Survey ToContinue reading “The UNIQUE Ethnic Ambiguity Scale Research Survey – NOW AVAILABLE :)”
- Recruitment Poster: The UNIQUE Ethnic Ambiguity Scale (Version 3)Please feel free to click on and share the following link to this recruitment poster with anyone you know who may be interested in our study! UNIQUE Ethnic Ambiguity Scale Recruitment Poster (Version 3) Sincerely, Jennifer Wu, M.A. Principal Investigator
- Recruitment Poster: The UNIQUE Ethnic Ambiguity Scale (Version 2)Please feel free to click on and share the following link to this recruitment poster with anyone you know who may be interested in our study! UNIQUE Ethnic Ambiguity Scale Recruitment Poster (Version 2) Sincerely, Jennifer Wu, M.A. Principal Investigator
Participate in the Ethnic Ambiguity study
I’m always interested in gathering more information, experiences, and perspectives from ethnically ambiguous people. If you would like to contribute to ongoing research, the ethnic ambiguity survey is available online by clicking here: