Mitigating racial microaggressions on campus: Documenting targets’ responses

Sara Houshmand, Lisa B. Spanierman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Scopus citations


    In this qualitative study, the authors examined responses to racial microaggressions among undergraduate Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) (N = 36) at a large Canadian university. To this end, we employed the consensual qualitative research method (CQR; Hill et al., 2005; Hill, Thompson, & Williams, 1997; Hill, 2012) among seven focus groups. Canadian undergraduate student participants, who self-identified as East Asian (n = 7), South Asian (n = 7), Arab (n = 9), Black (n = 7), and Indigenous (n = 6), expressed four strategic responses to racial microaggressions: using humor to mitigate tension, seeking community and solidarity for support, avoiding or withdrawing for protection and confronting perpetrators and challenging stereotypes. Findings demonstrated the dialectic between avoiding and confronting racial microaggressions, the nuanced role of using humor as a response strategy, and the importance of social support for BIPOC students. Findings are consistent with and extend current proposals of microinterventions. Social identity markers and power dynamics influenced students’ response strategies. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number100894
    JournalNew Ideas in Psychology
    StatePublished - Dec 2021


    • Coping
    • Microinterventions
    • Racial microaggressions
    • Racism in higher education

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychology (miscellaneous)
    • General Psychology


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