This story is part three of a special three-part series on interracial marriage. It was produced in collaboration with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.

If you are a child of mixed race in America, the odds are good that someone is going get it wrong. Just ask 17-year-old Phoebe Einzig-Roth.

“Some of the girls in my dorm got together with me and the German girl said, 'Oh, but you're definitely German,'” said Einzig-Roth. “And the half African-American girl said, 'Oh, no. No. She's definitely half black.' And the Hispanic girl said, ‘No, absolutely. She is definitely Hispanic.’ And I am none of those things.”

And then there's 35-year-old Jeff Rogers.

“Hey Papa!” shouted Rogers, imitating those who hail him regularly in Spanish. “Oh, I don't speak Spanish. ‘You don't speak Spanish?’ No. ‘Oh, you look Spanish.’ Again and again, I'm talking like 10,000 times.”

It happens a lot to mixed kids. Some laugh it off, others take offense. Scholars say that in recent years their focus has shifted from how others look at them to how they look at themselves, thanks in part to President Obama, America's first biracial president. It's been 17 years since the census began allowing people to identify as more than one race, mixed has become a separate identity explored in memoirs, blogs, classrooms and affinity groups.

Opponents of interracial marriage once argued that the children of mixed race unions would be inferior and fated to isolation. But the number of multiracial children in the U.S. has increased rapidly since the 1967 Loving v. Virginia court decision and is now growing at three times the rate of the rest of the population. Today roughly 10 million people identify as multiracial, half of whom are 19 or younger. They're not just black and white, but a kaleidoscope of colors and cultures. Some have found it hard to fit in. And for many their racial identity is an ever changing reality.

Not that everyone uses the same terminology. There are as many terms as there are racial and ethnic mixes such as, Halfrican, mixed Chicana, black-white girl, mixed or white adjacent.

“If you live close to Beverly Hills ... but you want your property values to reflect something like Beverley Hills, in L.A. we say we're Beverly Hills adjacent,” said Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni. “I think this is a really good way to point out that I benefit from privilege of whiteness.”

Raised in Cambridge, DiGiovanni is the daughter of a Jamaican man and a white woman, divorced many years ago. Now 47, Fanshen began as a light-skinned girl with blue eyes. In college she was black and recently she also identified as mixed. Now, she performs a one-woman show called “One Drop of Love” in which she describes herself as “a culturally mixed woman searching for racial answers.”

Three years before Fanshen was born in 1970, Virginia lawyers made an impassioned argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Loving case about the grim future that the children of interracial marriage — people just like Fanshen — would face.

“It is not infrequent that the children of intermarried parents are referred to not merely as the children of intermarried parents but as the victims of intermarried parents and as the martyrs of intermarried parents,” Robert McIlwaine III, the assistant attorney general of Virginia, declared to the court, reading from a book about intermarriage.

Fifty years later, those words sound antique. Mixed children are not just common but often celebrated in the media. And yet for a lot of them, it's still complicated.

Jeff Rogers knows a lot about that. Born to a black father and a white mother in Boston, the 35-year-old musician looks like neither of his parents. As a child he saw himself as black but for most of his life he's been misidentified as Hispanic.

“The joke is, ‘I look like Hector, but in my heart I'm Jamal,’” he said.

Growing up in Roxbury, Jeff tried hard to fit in with the black culture.

I wasn't going by the one drop rule. I was going by I want to have a high top fade and be a black guy with my friends ... I didn't know it was called a high top so I just said, 'Mom, I want bald on the sides, long on top,'” said Jeff. “Finally, she shaved the sides of my head. So, then it went from shaved with a razor on the sides to floppy and long on the top ... it looked so stupid and bad.”

As a teenager, Jeff continued to identify as black and called himself, “Halfrican” which he describes as, “a portamento of half and African.” Now, he identifies as mixed and calls himself  “mulatto.” It's an offensive term to some, but Jeff embraces it. So firmly is he in the mulatto camp, in fact, that he has established a Mulatto History Month to honor heroes such as Fredrick Douglass.

“Mulatto history month is from February 16 to March 16,” he explained. “Starts in February because that's black history month, and March is the whitest month because that's when white people start wearing shorts.”

Twenty-five years after Jeff wrestled with his mixed identity, the experience can still be pretty confusing. Kiernan Crayton Dillon, a 10-year old Cambridge boy, whose mother is mixed and whose father is white, says he gets grief from both sides at his school. One friend told him he was barely black at all and nicknamed him “white chocolate.” Then another friend did just the opposite.

“We were outside on the playground, and so he got really mad, and he walked away, and then he yelled at me the N-word,” said Kiernan. “We all were like, “Whooooooooooa.”

Kiernan finds such reactions to his blackness confusing, but he has no doubt where he stands.

“People know that I fight for black people, and I am on their side. I will be with them,” he said. “They know that I don’t like people that are rude to them, and just to clarify, black people are the them. I will be one of the people that fight back.”

One reflection of the increasing number of mixed young people in the country is the growing number of campus groups that have been established to support them. Recently, for example, the Association of Multiracial People at Tufts University held a year-end open mic. Its purpose is to support students of mixed heritage. When Fanshen and Jeff were growing up, this kind of group was rare but these days lots of colleges and high schools have them. Tufts senior, Maya Salcido White, who is mixed Chicana, say it has made a big difference.

“Each year I kind of go off and ramble a bit because I think it’s really important for especially non-mixed people to hear like … the kind of stuff that we go through,” she said.

That “stuff” that mixed people go through can start at an early age. What was really confusing for Kendra Gerald, a 16-year-old sophomore with a black father and a white mother, was that her sister had much lighter skin and straighter hair. She even had some freckles. A lot of times people wouldn't believe that her sister was related to her or her dad.

“My father's very dark, so people would just go up to her, not say anything to me or my father, and just be like, 'Do you know this man? Are you safe? Is he hurting you?’ ‘No. This is my dad,’” said Kendra.

Now working as an intern in the NAACP's Roxbury office, she's found that being biracial can be a big plus.

“I feel like some people are more open and honest with me when they find that out, because they're like, 'Oh this is a black person who I can talk to because they're also white and they're going to understand it,” she said.

Fifty years after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage, there is evidence of progress. So much so that Kendra's hoping that her mixed race will help her in politics. She's got her eye on a Boston city council seat, or maybe the mayor's office. After that, the sky's the limit.

“I don't want to aim too high, but I would consider running for president,” said Kendra. “I think I'd be a good one.”

This series was produced by Josh Swartz. To hear part one of the series, click here. For part two, click here.