The Logic of Microaggressions Assumes a Racist Society

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This commentary draws attention to core assumptions about the nature of society that underlie the current debate on microaggressions. For proponents of microaggression research, the starting assumption is one of a racist society. That is, microaggressions have their source and power within an inequitable, racially stratified society. In contrast, critics of microaggressions begin with the assumption of an equitable society, or at least would not endorse the assumption of a racist society. These two different starting assumptions lead to dramatically different conclusions about the concept of microaggressions. As long as these assumptions are not explicitly recognized, debates on methods, findings, and so on will never be reconciled.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)926-931
Number of pages6
JournalPerspectives on Psychological Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
I thank Alex Ajayi and Jill Fish for their input on a previous version of this commentary. This essay is no. 12 in the series, “I Got a Lot of Problems With Psychology.”

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • assumptions
  • microaggressions
  • models
  • passive racism
  • racism
  • systemic racism

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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