African American college students' experiences with everyday racism: Characteristics of and responses to these incidents

Janet K. Swim, Lauri L. Hyers, Laurie L. Cohen, Davita C. Fitzgerald, Wayne H. Bylsma

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246 Scopus citations


African American college students reported their experiences with everyday forms of racism at a predominantly European American university using a daily diary format. Their reported incidents represented verbal expressions of prejudice, bad service, staring or glaring, and difficulties in interpersonal exchanges (e.g., rudeness or awkward and nervous behavior). Both women's and men's experiences with interpersonal forms of prejudice were common, often occurred with friends and in intimate situations, and had significant emotional impact on them in terms of decreasing their comfort and increasing their feelings of threat during the interaction. Moreover, anger was the most frequently reported emotional reaction to these events. Participants were not passive targets, however, with many responding either directly or indirectly to the incidents. Findings from this study converged upon patterns of results found in in-depth interviews and surveys while also adding information to a growing body of literature on everyday experiences with racism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-67
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Black Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Applied Psychology

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