Coping with Gendered Racial Microaggressions among Black Women College Students

Jioni A. Lewis, Ruby Mendenhall, Stacy A. Harwood, Margaret Browne Huntt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, we explored the strategies that Black women use to cope with gendered racial microaggressions, or the subtle and everyday verbal, behavioral, and environmental expressions of oppression based on the intersection of one's race and gender. A total of 17 Black women undergraduate, graduate, and professional students participated in one of two semi-structured focus group interviews. Results from dimensional analysis indicated five coping strategies: two resistance coping strategies (i. e., Using One's Voice as Power, Resisting Eurocentric Standards), one collective coping strategy (i. e., Leaning on One's Support Network), and two self-protective coping strategies (i. e., Becoming a Black Superwoman, Becoming Desensitized and Escaping). The theme of Picking and Choosing One's Battles was also uncovered as a process whereby participants made deliberate decisions about when and how to address the microaggressions they experienced. Findings indicated that Black women used a combination of coping strategies depending on contextual factors, which supports and extends previous research. Implications and directions for future research in the field of African American studies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-73
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of African American Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • Black women
  • Coping
  • Gender
  • Microaggressions
  • Race
  • Sexism
  • Subtle racism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science


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