Undergraduate African–American student’s experience of racial microaggressions on a primarily white campus

Kyle J. Brezinski, John Laux, Christopher Roseman, Caroline O’Hara, Shanda Gore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between African–American undergraduate students, racial microaggressions (RMAs) and college retention rates. Design/methodology/approach: Data were obtained from a survey given out to African–American undergraduate students, recruited from a large, midwestern, predominantly white public university (n = 53). Findings: The results indicate that students did experience a wide range of microaggressions. Furthermore, the data revealed a statistically significant relationship between the participants’ perceptions that others viewed them as if they were foreigners and did not belong to the place and the participants’ thoughts about dropping out during the ongoing semester [r(51) = 0.338, p = 0.05]. The results suggest that African–Americans frequently experience RMAs while on campus but these experiences are not significantly tied to their intentions to complete the ongoing semester or return for the subsequent semester. Practical implications: This study shows that African–American students felt disconnected from the campus that they attend. This information may allow for faculty and staff members to assist in making students feel more welcomed and included in the classroom and on campus. Originality/value: This is one of the few studies to provide evidence of the relationships between African–American undergraduate students, RMAs and college retention rates. In addition, most studies looking at the relationship between RMAs and retention are qualitative in nature. The use of a quantitative approach helps us eliminating possible observer bias and increasing sample size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-277
Number of pages11
JournalJournal for Multicultural Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 13 2018


  • African–Americans
  • Racial microaggressions
  • Retention
  • Undergraduates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Undergraduate African–American student’s experience of racial microaggressions on a primarily white campus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this