“Can I get a pass”—the use of the “N” word and other forms of microaggressions and potential impact on Black student’s well-being

Emmanuel M. Ngui, Joan Blakey, Faith Ogungbe, Teresa Ortiz, Gary L. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examined factors that impact Black middle and high school students’ academic and psychosocial well-being. Qualitative analysis of focus group data using grounded methodological approach on 51 middle and high school students in a predominantly White urban school district. Findings show Black students are constantly exposed to racial microaggressions (i.e. microinvalidation, microinsult, microassault) which impact their overall academic performance and psychosocial well-being. Use of request to use the N-word was a common and stressful form of microaggression encountered by Black students. Overall, racial microaggressions (e.g. use/request to use the “N” word) are common, stressful and begin early among Black students attending predominantly White schools. Black students recognize the commonplace nature of racial microaggressions and actively identify coping mechanisms (e.g. safe shared on-campus spaces, identifying concrete steps schools can take to create safe environment). Concerted efforts by schools are needed to prevent/mitigate the harmful effects of microaggression exposure to students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1376-1392
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education
Volume37
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • Racial microaggressions
  • academic well-being
  • health
  • race/ethnicity
  • students
  • “N”-word

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