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The Graduate Health & Life Sciences Research Library at Georgetown University Medical Center

Racial Justice

A guide on racial and other social justice/injustice issues that continue to come to a head in the United States and around the world.


Microaggressions: "the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership. In many cases, these hidden messages may invalidate the group identity or experiential reality of target persons, demean them on a personal or group level, communicate they are lesser human beings, suggest they do not belong with the majority group, threaten and intimidate, or relegate them to inferior status and treatment." [Source]

Examples of Microaggressions:

Adapted from: Wing, Capodilupo, Torino, Bucceri, Holder, Nadal, Esquilin (2007). Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Implications for Clinical Practice. American Psychologist, 62, 4, 271-286




Alien in own land

When APIDA Americans and Latinx Americans are assumed to be foreign-born.

“Where are you from?”

“Where were you born?”

“You speak good English.”

A person asking an Asian American to teach them words in their native language.

You are not American


You are a foreigner

Ascription of Intelligence

Assigning intelligence to a person of color on the basis of their race.

“You are a credit to your race.”


“You are so articulate.”


Asking an Asian person to help with a Math or Science problem.

People of color are generally not as intelligent as Whites.

It is unusual for someone of your race to be intelligent.

All Asians are intelligent and good in Math / Sciences.

Criminality – assumption of criminal status

A person of color is presumed to be dangerous, criminal, or deviant on the basis of their race.

A White man or woman clutching their purse or checking their wallet as a Black or Latino approaches or passes.

A store owner following a customer of color around the store. A White person waits to ride the next elevator when a person of color is on it.

You are a criminal.




You are going to steal / You are poor / You do not belong / You are dangerous.

Denial of individual racism

A statement made when Whites deny their racial biases

“I’m not a racist. I have several Black friends.”

“As a woman, I know what you go through as a racial minority.”


I am immune to racism because I have friends of color.

Your racial oppression is no different than my gender oppression. I can’t be a racist. I’m like you.

Myth of meritocracy

Statements which assert that race does not play a role in life successes

“I believe the most qualified person should get the job.”

“Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough.”

People of color are given extra unfair benefits because of their race.

People of color are lazy and / or incompetent and need to work harder.

Implicit Bias

What is implicit bias?

"Implicit bias exists when people unconsciously hold attitudes toward others or associate stereotypes with them.  People’s implicit bias may run counter to their conscious beliefs without their realizing it.  Implicit bias is also known as unconscious bias or implicit social cognition."

"Ethics Unwrapped", McCombs School of Business, The University of Texas at Austin