Silenced and Marginalized: A Qualitative Study of Gendered Racial Microaggressions Among Black Female Graduate Students

Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership (EdD)

Committee Chair

Eric Parker

Committee Member

Crissie Jameson

Committee Member

Wanda Fernandopulle


Black women face unique challenges based on the intersection of multiple marginalized identities often referred to as the simultaneity of oppression or gendered racism. The purpose of this qualitative study is to expand gendered racial microaggression research by examining the experiences of Black female graduate students at colleges and universities not classified as historically Black. This study utilized a Critical Race Feminism framework that centered the voices and perspectives of the participants and sought to answer the following research questions: RQ 1: How do Black female graduate students experience gendered racial microaggressions at colleges and universities not classified as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (non-HBCUs)? RQ 2 : How do Black female graduate students cope with their experiences of gendered racial microaggressions at non-HBCUs? Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 Black female participants who have attended non-HBCUs during their entire collegiate journey. A thematic analysis approach was utilized to analyze the data and identify patterns and themes. Three core themes with two subthemes emerged in relation to research question one: Isolated and Silenced (Only Black Person, Lack of Support), Common Stereotypes (Angry Black Woman, Jezebel), Permanence of Racism (A History of Racism, The Decline of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion). Two core themes with two subthemes were identified in relation to research question two: Identity Shifting (Fear of Consequences, Fear of Perpetuating Stereotypes), Community Building (Faculty, Administrators, and Advisors, Student-peers and Co-workers). A robust discussion of these findings is presented along with practical and theoretical implications of the study and recommendations for future gendered racial microaggression research.