Critical Race Theory, Racial Microaggressions and Campus Racial Climate: The experiences of African-American college students

D. Solórzano
M. Ceja
T. Yosso


Microaggressions are subtle insults (verbal, nonverbal, and/or visual) directed toward people of color, often automatically or unconsciously. Using critical race theory as a framework, the stud described in this article provides an examination of racial microaggressions and how they influence the collegiate racial climate. Using focus group interview data from African American students at three universities, it reveals that racial microaggressions exist in both academic and social spa in the collegiate environment. The study shows how African American students experience and respond to racial microaggressions. It also demonstrates how racial microaggressions have a negative impact on the campus racial climate.



This study looks at microaggressions on college campuses aimed at minority students. This study builds on a 1998 study done by Grace Carroll in white she asks African American students and workshops a series of three questions to discover if they had or are often exposed to microaggressions. Most participants are. The authors define microaggressions as “subtle insults (verbal, nonverbal, and/or visual) directed toward people of color, often automatically or unconsciously” (p. 10). In order to understand minority students’ experiences with microaggressions, the researchers use focus-groups and informants spoke about their experiences in academic and social spaces on campus. By the end of the present study, the authors add two additional questions to Carroll’s original three. Both of these questions revolve around success and completion of minority students.

APA Citation

Solórzano, D., Ceja, M. & Yosso, T. (2000) Critical race theory, racial microaggressions and campus racial climate: The experiences of African-American college students, Journal of Negro Education, 69(1/2), 60–73.

About the Study

Links to Article
Publication Type Report
In Publication Journal of Negro Education
Type of Research Qualitative
Research Design Interviews
Intervention/Areas of Study Engagement, Faculty and professional development and/or training, Instructor-student interactions, Student motivation, Student support, Student-student interactions
Level of Analysis Student-level
Specific Populations Examined Graduates, Minority status
Peer-Reviewed Yes
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest Doctorate-granting, Historically Black Colleges/Universities (HBCUs)
Specific Course or Program Characteristics Professions
Outcome Variables of Interest Satisfaction
Student Sample Size 0-99
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