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Table 1 Categories of microaggressions

From: A qualitative study of microaggressions against African Americans on predominantly White campuses

  Category Name Description
1 Not a True Citizen When a question, statement, or behavior indicates that a person of color is not a real citizen or a meaningful part of our society because they are not White.
2 Racial Categorization & Sameness When a person is compelled to disclose their racial group to enable others to attach pathological racial stereotypes to the person; includes the assumption that all people from a particular group are alike.
3 Assumptions About Intelligence, Competence, or Status When behavior or statements are based on assumptions about a person’s intelligence, competence, education, income, social status derived from racial stereotypes.
4 False Colorblindness / Invalidating Racial or Ethnic Identity Expressing that individual’s racial or ethnic identity should not be acknowledged, which can be invalidating for people who are proud of their identity or who have suffered because of it.
5 Criminality or Dangerousness Demonstrating belief in stereotypes that people of color are dangerous, untrustworthy, likely to commit crimes or cause bodily harm.
6 Denial of Individual Racism When a person tries to make a case that they are not biased, often by talking about anti-racist things they have done to deflect perceived scrutiny of their own behaviors.
7 Myth of Meritocracy / Race is Irrelevant for Success When someone makes statements about success being rooted in personal efforts and denial of existence of racism or White privilege.
8 Reverse Racism Hostility Expressions of jealousy or hostility surrounding the notion that people of color get unfair advantages and benefits due to their race.
9 Pathologizing Minority Culture or Appearance When people criticize others based on perceived or real cultural differences in appearance, traditions, behaviors, or preferences.
10 Second Class Citizen / Ignored & Invisible When people of color are treated with less respect, consideration, or care than is normally expected or customary. This may include being ignored or being unseen/invisible.
11 Connecting via Stereotypes When a person tries to communicate or connect with a person through use of stereotyped speech or behavior, to be accepted or understood. Can include racist jokes and epitaphs as terms of endearment.
12 Exoticization and Eroticization When a person of color is treated according to sexualized stereotypes or attention to differences that are characterized as exotic in some way.
13 Avoidance and Distancing When people of color are avoided or measures are taken to prevent physical contact or close proximity.
14 Environmental Exclusion When someone’s racial identity is minimized or made insignificant through the exclusion of decorations, literature, or depictions of people that represent their racial group.
15 Environmental Attacks When decorations pose a known affront or insult to a person’s cultural group, history, or heritage.