“Did I Hear That Right?”: A CRT Analysis of Racial Microaggressions in K-12 Schools

Ashley Marie Hanna Daftary, Debora Ortega, Ceema Samimi, Annahita Ball

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1 Scopus citations


Microaggressions are well-documented in education literature, yet they are typically explored on the interpersonal level and less often contextualized within a broader educational context. In this study, we used a critical qualitative approach, pairing a Critical Race Theory framework with a feminist critique, to explore K-12 faculty and staff perceptions of racial microaggressions in U.S. public schools. Twenty-five faculty and staff with anti-oppressive orientations shared their perceptions of pathologizing cultural values or communication styles, a specific type of microaggression. A flexible coding approach, including three coding cycles, was used to analyze the data. Participant narratives indicated how Black, Indigenous, and Latinx students, families, faculty, and staff are regularly pathologized in the K-12 education setting. Findings highlight how microaggressions are a form of institutionalized racism that negatively impacts the educational environment, thus norming and reenforcing the dehumanization of People of Color. Implications for future research and social work practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-301
Number of pages17
JournalAffilia - Feminist Inquiry in Social Work
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2024

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  • K-12 education
  • critical race theory
  • institutional racism
  • microaggressions


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