The recent rise in Spain of mixed unions between people born in
different countries has brought about a significant increase in the
number of multiethnic and multiracial individuals in the country.
However, no research currently exists in Spain on the life
experiences and identity processes of these mixed-parentage
youth. Drawing on 124 in-depth interviews, this article examines
the narratives of ethnoracially mixed descendants from diverse
backgrounds in Catalonia, Spain. Our results show that identity
processes and experiences of being mixed are very heterogeneous
and multifaceted, and that some individuals have more choices,
versus constraints, when navigating mixedness. A crucial factor
affecting these outcomes is visibility – i.e. visible markers of
difference from the native society, such as phenotype, language, or
religious affiliation. We find that while ethnoracially mixed
individuals who have more outer characteristics shared with the
native majority population can develop more advantageous,
symbolic, and malleable identities, individuals whose heritage
involves an ancestry that is negatively minoritised within the
country of residence experience greater identity mismatch,
stigmatisation, and discrimination. This finding is at odds with the
‘postracial’ or ‘colour-blind’ future that might ostensibly be heralded
by an ever-growing Spanish population of mixed individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)838-860
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2021


  • Identity
  • Islamophobia
  • mixed race
  • multiethnic
  • multiracial
  • racism


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