Microaggressions, racial identity, and coping
Education is often thought of as the great equalizer that is capable of offsetting societal inequities (Holmes & Zajacova, 2014). Elite universities are characterized by the most selective admissions criteria, and attendance at these universities often provides access to the social capital necessary to pursue prestigious careers. Research shows that Black students attending elite universities experience racism while on campus (Torres & Charles, 2004; Warikoo, 2018). Scholars have also found that the experience of racism negatively impacts Black student’s well-being (Neville et al., 2004). However, little is known about what happens when Black students at elite universities graduate and enter the workforce, especially the ways in which they experience racism at work. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to better understand the ways in which experiences of racism at work impact on well-being and work-fulfillment for Black graduates at elite universities and to examine potential factors that may protect against racism. Black graduates of elite universities (N= 1,010) were invited to complete measures that assessed racial microaggressions (Racial and Ethnic Microaggressions Scale), racial identity (Black Racial Identity Attitudes Scale), racism-related coping strategies (Racism-Related Coping Scale) well-being outcomes (Mental Health Inventory and Satisfaction with Life), and work-fulfillment outcomes (Work Engagement and Job Satisfaction). The present study used structural equation modeling and findings were mixed. However, the results revealed that particular experiences of racism at work negatively impact both well-being and work-fulfillment. The results of moderation analyses showed that racial identity may serve as a protective factor against experiences of racism at work for Black graduates of elite universities. Implications for research, practice and policy, as well as study limitations are presented.