Monday, May 4, 2009

Racial Microaggressions and Asian Americans

Interesting article trying to get to the bottom of the subtle racism faced by Asian Americans. The article examines racial microaggressions, defined as “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory or negative racial slights and insults that potentially have harmful or unpleasant psychological impact on the target person or group.”
Simply stated, microaggressions are brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to people of color because they belong to a racial minority group. These exchanges are so pervasive and automatic in daily interactions that they are often dismissed and glossed over as being innocuous. What constitutes racial microaggressions, how they impact people of color and the strategies used to deal with them have not been well conceptualized or researched.
The study relies on a focus group, and categorized mircroaggressions identified by the group members as (a) alien in own land, (b) ascription of intelligence, (c) exoticization of Asian women, (d) invalidation of interethnic differences, (e) denial of racial reality, (f) pathologizing cultural values/communication styles, (g) second class citizenship, and (h) invisibility.

A more general article about racial microaggressions by the same lead author can be found here.

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