Experiences of racial microaggressions and coping strategies of Black women in corporate America

Aisha M. B Holder, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to examine the experiences of racial microaggressions in the workplace and coping strategies among a select group of Black women in management and senior roles working in corporate America. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 Black women with current or prior experience working in corporate America in senior-level roles, who acknowledged that subtle racism exists in contemporary U.S. society, and had personal experiences of racism in the workplace. A phenomenological methodology was used to uncover the lived experiences of these women. Results of the analysis uncovered 14 themes that described experiences of racial microaggressions, processes and coping strategies. Racial microaggression themes included environmental, stereotypes about Black women, assumed universality of the Black experience, invisibility and exclusion. Participants employed a number of strategies to cope with experiences of racial microaggressions in the workplace. Examples included religion and spirituality, armoring, shifting, support networks, sponsorship and mentorship, and self care. Directions for future research, clinical and organizational implications for Black women, corporate America and perpetrators of racial microaggressions were discussed.

Subject Area

Black studies|Womens studies|Counseling Psychology|Occupational psychology|Ethnic studies

Recommended Citation

Holder, Aisha M. B, "Experiences of racial microaggressions and coping strategies of Black women in corporate America" (2013). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3554163.