Limited studies of Black students’ experiences of racial microaggressions specifically address environmental racial microaggressions. Environmental racial microaggressions have no apparent offender, affect all persons of color in a given social setting, and are more evident at a systemic or environmental level such as in education, government, and the economy (Nadal, Skolnik, & Wong, 2012; Sue et al., 2007). Using resilience theory as a framework, this study investigates environmental racial microaggressions experienced by Black college students attending a predominantly White institution (PWI). Four focus group interviews were conducted with Black college students attending a large Midwestern PWI. Findings indicated that students experienced six types of environmental racial microaggressions in various contexts at the university: (a) segregation, (b) lack of representation, (c) campus response to criminality, (d) cultural bias in courses, (e) tokenism, and (f) pressure to conform. Gender differences emerged where only women described experiencing cultural bias in courses and only men spoke explicitly about the lack of representation of persons of color in leadership positions within campus employment. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.
Journal of Diversity in Higher Education – American Psychological Association
Published: Mar 2, 2020