Wentworth Miller is of African American, Jamaican, German, English, Russian, Dutch, French, Syrian, and Lebanese descent. In a 2004 interview with the Guardian about the movie Human Strain (which follows the story of "a light-skinned African American man who decides to 'pass' as white to facilitate a life and a career that would otherwise be inaccessible to him in 1940s America"), Miller said:
"'There were a number of things I understood automatically about this character. 'Passing' is not something that has crossed my mind. On the other hand, being of mixed race you do have this question of, 'Well, maybe I don't have to answer to any particular community, since I'm not really a part of any particular community. Maybe I only have to answer to myself.' It makes you a kind of racial lone ranger."
In a 2017 interview with Interview Magazine, Wentworth elaborated on growing up mixed race and his identity, "To be honest, it wasn’t something l took a very close look at until I got to college, which I think is what college is all about: self-examination and dealing with those questions of 'Who am I?'"
When asked if that self-examination caused him any anxiety, Miller answered, "If it did, it came from the fact that other people were trying to define me and my own journey. There’s a quote I often refer to from Toni Morrison’s Beloved, which is that 'definitions belong to the definers and not the defined.' The beautiful thing about having grown up in Brooklyn is, because of the rich cultural and racial diversity there, no one seemed to give too much thought to where I fit on the racial spectrum. But there were times when I would run up against someone who was interested in figuring out what race was. That would come as a surprise, and in some cases, like a slap in the face."
He elaborated on how his identity played into his acting, "Well, the backstory to anyone of mixed race is a lifetime spent being incorrectly perceived and choosing either to allow that misperception to continue or to correct it, so I am aware of identity and race as being much more fluid, I think, than someone who is 'purely' one thing or the other. And acting does challenge me to address those particular issues."