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ERIC Number: EJ1056794
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1938-8926
Hierarchical Microaggressions in Higher Education
Young, Kathryn; Anderson, Myron; Stewart, Saran
Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, v8 n1 p61-71 Mar 2015
Although there has been substantial research examining the effects of microaggressions in the public sphere, there has been little research that examines microaggressions in the workplace. This study explores the types of microaggressions that affect employees at universities. We coin the term "hierarchical microaggression" to represent the everyday slights found in higher education that communicate systemic valuing (or devaluing) of a person because of the institutional role held by that person in the institution. We explore hierarchical microaggressions through examining qualitative data from multiple cultural competence trainings devoted to learning about microaggressions on college campuses. Findings indicate 4 main types of hierarchical microaggressions: valuing/devaluing based on role/credential, changing accepted behavior based on role, actions (ignoring/excluding/surprise/interrupting) related to role, and terminology related to work position. The findings add a new dimension of interpretation to the current research on microaggressions, one that relates directly to hierarchical status of workplace identities. Hierarchical microaggressions exist in all workplaces, but are of a unique type in a university because of the rhetoric related to equality and upward mobility associated with college going. Our findings indicate that these forms of microaggressions are more than insensitive comments; they impact people because people take on an identity associated with their status at the university, an identity related to the amount of higher education they attain. This study adds to the literature on microaggressions and provides university stakeholders with the language and the tools to reduce microaggressions from their respective environments leading to the improvement of overall campus climate.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A