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There are a variety of factors—skin tone, hair color, eye color, where and how a person was raised—that may influence how a person of dual heritage classifies herself.

In the Pew study, 47 percent of multiracial people who do not identify as such say it’s because they look and are perceived as a one race.

“I read comments about being a strong black woman, and I’m like, , because I’ve never had to be, because I don’t look black.” But the experience of being a “Becky” or a white girl isn’t something authentic to Sneed either.

She was raised by her white mother, but lived in an area with a larger black population.

Heikkinen, whose mother is black and father is white, looks white: She has blonde hair, green eyes, freckles, and pale skin.

Classmates, confused by her appearance, had been hounding her with questions like, “What ?

And biracial people are constantly faced with a choice.

Biracial women who struggle with their own identity may feel an overwhelming outside pressure for racial clarity. “People like math because if you solve a problem, you have an answer, and that’s just the answer. It’s like asking, ” “I don’t know if I have a concrete way to describe my ethnicity,” says Sarah Heikkinen, 23, a journalist from Cortland, NY.

“My sister used to call me the white baby,” Ashley says.

“They would joke that I was adopted because I didn’t look like the rest of my siblings.” “We have an expectation in society of what a black person should look like, or what a white person should look like,” says Sarah Gaither, Ph.

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