AbstractsSocial Work

Perceived racial microaggression and its role in stereotype vulnerability

by Brieana Higley-Anderson

Institution: California State University – Sacramento
Department: Social Work
Degree: MSW
Year: 2015
Keywords: Microaggression; Race; Content analysis; Stereotype vulnerability; Law enforcement
Record ID: 2061545
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10211.3/138859


This study measured the manifestations of racial microaggressions, using a modified version of Kevin Nadal???s Racial and Ethnic Microaggression Scale (REMS), as perceived in the interactions between police officers and persons stopped by police officers. Racial microaggressions are everyday verbal and nonverbal, put-downs, intentional and unintentional, that serve to disempower and target members of minority communities. Content analysis was used to identify the mass media portrayals of incarceration initiatives conducive to racial microaggressions and stereotype vulnerability as depicted in randomly selected COPS episodes (N=50), unscripted and filmed on-scene following the activities of law enforcement officers, produced by Langley Productions. Findings from this study indicate that common racial stereotypes continue to be one of the prisms through which police officers make decisions about a given person???s criminality. However, there was no evidence to uphold the research hypotheses that the handling officer???s racial background and the suspects??? ethnicity were bound to influence the behavior of the officer towards the subject, as operationalized on the microaggression score. The findings did not indicate an association between the ethnicity of the suspect and the microaggression score attributed to the handling officer in the initial encounters. However, this study found that Caucasian police officers scored higher on the microaggression scale than the ethnic minority police officers with a mean difference of 5.56548. The difference was not statistically significant, t (48)= 1.331, mean difference of 5.56548, and p > .05. Recommendations include the need for greater attention to diversity education of law enforcement officers regarding Civil and Human Rights, and methods of policies implementation with regard to mandatory police officer trainings.