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Stories of Hope and Possibility: Racial Microaffirmations and Critical Race Theory in Higher Education

Mon, April 16, 8:15 to 9:45am, Sheraton New York Times Square, Second Floor, Metropolitan West Room

Abstract

This paper develops a definition of racial microaffirmations, as microbehaviors (verbal, nonverbal or visual) experienced by individuals from minoritized racial groups that affirm their racial identities, resist the impact of racism or advance cultural and ideological norms of racial justice. Using narrative interviews conducted with 30 undergraduate students, the study analyzes their experiences with microaffirmations. The paper highlights a typology for classifying microaffirmations that includes experiences of recognition, validation, transformation and protection. Furthermore, the findings suggest that microaffirmations infuse hope and possibility into racial climates of universities. By undergirding the microaffirmations framework with tenets from critical race theory, the paper makes a significant contribution to critical race theory literature as applied to the study of higher education institutions.

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