Racial Microaggressions and the Asian American Experience

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Racial microaggressions were examined through a focus group analysis of 10 self-identified Asian American participants using a semistructured interview and brief demographic questionnaire. Results identified 8 major microaggressive themes directed toward this group: (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 ninth category, “undeveloped incidents/responses” was used to categorize microaggressions that were mentioned by only a few members. There were strong indications that the types of subtle racism directed at Asian Americans may be qualitatively and quantitatively different from other marginalized groups. Implications are discussed.

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