The What, the Why, and the How: A Review of Racial Microaggressions Research in Psychology

Gloria Wong, Annie O. Derthick, E. J R David, Anne Saw, Sumie Okazaki

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Since the publication of Sue et al. (Am Psychol 62:271-286, 2007a, b) seminal article, there has been an enormous scholarly interest in psychology on this construct of racial microaggressions-subtle everyday experiences of racism. In this paper, we provide a review of racial microaggressions research literature in psychology since 2007, following the publication of the first comprehensive taxonomy of racial microaggressions, which provided a conceptual framework and directions for research related to racial microaggressions. However, our review suggests that important conceptual and methodological issues remain to be addressed in the three domains: (1) what are racial microaggressions and who do they impact; (2) why are racial microaggressions important to examine; and (3) how are racial microaggressions currently studied and how might we improve the methodologies used to study racial microaggressions. We propose recommendations to further facilitate racial microaggressions research, improve the scientific rigor of racial microaggressions research, and contribute toward a more complete and sophisticated understanding of the concept and consequences of racial microaggressions-a construct that is undoubtedly salient and psychologically relevant among many members of racial minority groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-200
Number of pages20
JournalRace and Social Problems
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Everyday racism
  • Microaggressions
  • Racism
  • Subtle racism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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