Okay to Say? Initial validation of the acceptability of racial microaggressions scale

Yara Mekawi, Nathan R. Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite a growing body of research documenting the negative impact of racial microaggressions on racial and ethnic minorities' wellbeing, there remains debate in society about whether it is acceptable to say racially microaggressive statements. However, no scale exists to assess attitudes about the acceptability of saying such statements. Objectives: In this study we present an initial validation of a new scale, the Acceptability of Racial Microaggressions Scale (ARMS), which assesses attitudes about how "okay" it is for White individuals to say different types of racially microaggressive statements to racial and ethnic minorities in an interpersonal interaction. Method and Results: We provide exploratory (Study 1; n = 596) and confirmatory (Study 2; n = 404) factor analytic support for the presence of four factors regarding acceptability of saying different types of microaggressive statements: Victim Blaming, Color Evasion, Power Evasion, and Exoticizing. We present evidence for construct validity by testing associations with several race-related, ideological, and personality measures. We provide evidence in Study 3 (n = 90) for test-retest reliability over a 2-week time period, and show associations between attitudes toward acceptability and self-reported likelihood of personal commission. Conclusions: Overall, we provide initial psychometric and validity evidence for the ARMS and discuss implications and potential uses of the scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)346-362
Number of pages17
JournalCultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2018


  • Colorblindness
  • Racial microaggressions
  • Scale construction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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