Reducing Acceptability of Racial Microaggressions Using Online Videos: The Role of Perspective-Taking and White Guilt

Yara Mekawi, Nathan R. Todd, Emily J. Blevins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Growing evidence suggests a positive association between perceiving racial microaggressions as acceptable and endorsing negative attitudes toward Black, Indigenous and other People of Color (BIPOC). Yet, researchers have not yet examined whether it is possible to change acceptability attitudes and if so, which psychological factors may help to explain this change. Thus, the goals of this paper are to extend the literature on racial microaggression perpetration by (a) testing the effectiveness of a brief video intervention on changing White students’ attitudes related to the acceptability of racial microaggressions and (b) examining possible mechanisms through which this change might occur. Across two studies, White undergraduate students were randomly assigned to watch either a series of videos about the impact of racial microaggressions (experimental condition) or about the environment (control condition). In Study 1 (n = 86), we found that those in the experimental condition had significantly lower acceptability attitudes related to color evasion, power evasion, victim blaming, and exoticization microaggressions. In Study 2 (n = 196), we found that perspective-taking, but not White guilt, helped to explain the impact of the video on acceptability attitudes related to power evasion, exoticizing, and victim-blaming microaggressions. These results suggest that vicarious contact using video interventions may reduce the degree to which White students perceive racial microaggressions as acceptable; thus laying a foundation for future video-based intervention strategies in higher education to reduce racial microaggressions on college campuses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)759-768
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Diversity in Higher Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 16 2021


  • acceptability attitudes
  • racial microaggressions
  • vicarious contact

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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