Date of Award


Document Type




First Advisor

Miguel Diaz-Barriga


"If anthropology doesn't break your heart, then you're not doing it right." - Ruth Behar Writing this thesis has been a trying experience. Within these pages, you will find the therapeutic expedition of a caramel-colored, Spanish-speaking, second-generation black Dominican woman from Newark, NJ who took advantage of this research opportunity to better understand the racial and ethnic parts of her identity which have caused her much turmoil and low self-esteem. Centering myself, my identity, and my story in this research and grappling with the complexities of the subject matter has been an exhausting yet liberating experience. I have contemplated many times throwing away this thesis, as I 100% understood that it was an optional part of my anthropology degree. But yet I continued to push through all the tears and pain, even with the recognition that I had no adequate support from my surrounding faculty in carrying this emotional burden. I want to thank the many different Afro-Latinx people across the United States I reached out to in the course of my research and who shared their stories with me and continued to reassure me in this labor of love. As a Black Latina (Afro-Latina), that has constantly lived in this borderland of identity, neither fully at home nor completely displaced, repeatedly caught in the tension between fitting in and standing out, struggling with a sense of both connection and alienation, existing in a state of flux, where my sense of belonging is constantly shifting, I write this in hopes that my story and my theoretical understanding of my identity crisis may soothe another soul who feels alone in this battle. I hope that this writing will encourage others to take the first step in their paths of self-discovery and provide them with the courage to continue seeking knowledge, even when the journey ahead is painful.