Microaggression Detection Measurement Impact on White College Students’ Colorblindness

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Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research






Psi Chi - The International Honor Society in Psychology

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Racial microaggressions can unduly tax people of color. To combat their impact, people need an increased awareness and ability to detect microaggressions when they occur. The present study examined White individuals’ ability to accurately detect microaggressions across 3 conditions with varied exposure to knowledge about microaggressions (control, low-exposure, high-exposure) at pre- to postintervention. Undergraduate university students (N = 103) were recruited from 2 predominantly White universities. At pre- and postintervention, participants watched a set of video clips, some of which contained racial microaggressions, answered a series of questions regarding the content of the videos, and completed the Colorblind Racial Attitudes Scale (CoBRAS). Participants watched a 1 hr video on racial microaggressions, read an article on microaggressions, or read an article on positive psychology. CoBRAS total score from pre- (M = 62.23, SD = 15.39) to postintervention (M = 61.67, SD = 15.66), t(102) = 3.26, p = .002, d = .32, indicated a significant decrease in overall colorblindness and a significant increase in awareness of racial privilege scores from pre- (M = 26.67, SD = 7.51) to postintervention (M = 25.51, SD = 7.87), t(102) = 3.28, p = .001, d = .32. Awareness of institutional discrimination and blatant racial discrimination did not shift significantly. Results suggest that repeated exposures to videos of microaggressions had a significant effect in increasing awareness of participants’ racial privilege and decreasing colorblind attitudes. This has implications for interventions and future research.