But Where Are You Really From?: Black and Asian American Women's Experiences of Gendered Racialized Microaggressions
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Though microaggression research has grown across disciplines in recent years, existing work often centralizes intergroup experiences, disregarding the ways intragroup spaces perpetuate dominant white racial framing. Utilizing thirty-five in-depth, semi-structured interviews, this dissertation addresses that gap, revealing that Black and Asian American women experience gendered racialized microaggressions within co-ethnic spaces, enacted by family and peers who may share a dual identity as both targets and maintainers of a white supremacist patriarchal system. Gendered racialized microaggressions within intraracial spaces centralize specific themes I identify as: Whiteness is the Ultimate Goal, Not Asian/Black Enough, Body Talk, and Racialized Sexualization, each defined within a white racialized dominant framework in the US.
Further, women of color experience distinct gendered racist microaggressions when they occupy white spaces, including those who live with predominantly white families. Women of color living with white families due to adoption, biracialism, and step-parenthood, experience gendered racialized microaggressions from white family members centralizing mixed messages of colorblindness, a pressure to assimilate to white norms, and a tokenization of non-white identities. Black and Asian American women perceive gendered racialized microaggressions that are perpetrated by white women (such as friends, coworkers, or strangers) as especially damaging due to the complexity of the shared subjugation of womanhood. Gendered racialized microaggressions perpetrated by white women typically fall within themes I identify as: Oppression Olympics, White Saviorism, and Rigid Subscription to Controlling Images. In contrast, white men perpetrate microaggressions centralizing Sexual Exotification to both Asian American and Black women, regardless of my respondents’ sexual orientation.
My findings further revealed that Black and Asian American women consider several factors when faced with gendered racialized microaggressions. Their relationship with the perpetrator, the perpetrator’s race, and the social environment within which the microaggression occurs are all considered when calculating their responses. Respondents react to microaggressions through either passive or active responses, including walking away, changing their behavior, and confronting the enactor. They also cope and resist through the creation of shared community and counter spaces with other women of color.
Lackey, Dresden, "But Where Are You Really From?: Black and Asian American Women's Experiences of Gendered Racialized Microaggressions." Dissertation, Georgia State University, 2021.
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