Racism hidden in plain sight.

Microaggressions Research

Microaggressions are subtle everyday instances of bias and discrimination against someone in a marginalized group. For example, microaggressions can be small acts of racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, or ablism (or other -isms) that you see in the world. A microaggression can be an insult, an insensitive comment or gesture, or even something in the environment. Most of the research to date has been focused on racial microaggressions.

Dr. Monnica Williams has been an international leader in the study of microaggressions. Below her primary publications on microaggressions, including her seminal rebuttal to Scott Lilienfeld who critiqued the conceptual basis for microaggressions and the scientific rigor of scholarship on the topic. She then went on to publish a special issue on microaggressions in the same journal, Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Selected Publications

  1. Farahani, H., Williams, M. T., & Nepton, A. (2022). Racial Microaggressions. In. C. R. Martin, V. B. Patel, V. R. Preedy (Eds.), Anger, Aggression, and Violence: Causes, Pathology and Treatments. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-98711-4_10-1
  2. Williams, M. T. (2021). Racial microaggressions: Critical questions, state of the science, and new directions. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 16(5), 880-885. https://doi.org/10.1177/17456916211039209
  3. Williams, M. T., Skinta, M. D., & Martin-Willett, R. (2021). After Pierce and Sue: Evidence for a revised racial microaggressions taxonomy. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 16(5), 991-1007. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691621994247
  4. Steketee, A., Williams, M., Valencia, B., Printz, D., & Hooper, L. M. (2021). Racial and language microaggressions in the school ecology. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 16(5), 1075-1098. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691621995740
  5. Williams, M. T., Ching, T., & Gallo, J. (2021). Understanding microaggressions and aggression by and against People of Color. Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, 14(e25), 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1754470X21000234 [download CCAS]
  6. DeLapp, R. C. T. & Williams, M. T. (2021). Preparing for racial microaggressions: The role of cognition and emotion in the proactive coping process of African American college students. New Ideas in Psychology, 63(100897), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.newideapsych.2021.100897
  7. Williams, M. T. (2021). Microaggressions are a form of aggression. Behavior Therapy, 52(3), 709-719. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beth.2020.09.001 [download CCAS]
  8. Williams, M. T., Skinta, M. D., Kanter, J. K., Martin-Willett, R., Mier-Chairez, J., Debreaux, M., & Rosen, D. C. (2020). A qualitative study of microaggressions against African Americans on predominantly White campuses. BMC Psychology, 8(111), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-020-00472-8
  9. Williams, M. T., Kanter, J. W., Peña, A., Ching, T. W. C., & Oshin, L. (2020). Reducing microaggressions and promoting interracial connection: The Racial Harmony Workshop. Journal of Contextual and Behavioral Science, 16, 153-161. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcbs.2020.04.008
  10. Kanter, J. W., Rosen, D. C., Manbeck, K. E., Branstetter, H., Kuczynski, A., Corey, M. D., Maitland, D., & Williams, M. T. (2020). Addressing microaggressions in racially charged patient-provider interactions: A pilot randomized trial. BMC Medical Education, 20(88), 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-020-02004-9.
  11. Williams, M. T. (2020). Psychology cannot afford to ignore the many harms caused by microaggressions. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 15(1), 38-43. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691619893362
  12. Williams, M. T. (2020). Microaggressions: Clarification, evidence, and impact. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 15(1), 3-26. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691619827499
  13. Williams, M. T. (2020). Managing Microaggressions: Addressing Everyday Racism in Therapeutic Spaces. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780190875237 [intro and contents]
  14. Williams, M. & Halstead, M. (2019). Racial microaggressions as barriers to treatment in clinical care. Directions in Psychiatry, 39(4), 265-280.
  15. Michaels, T. I., Gallagher, N., Crawford, M., Kanter, J. W., & Williams, M. T. (2018). Racial differences in the appraisal of microaggressions through cultural consensus modeling. The Behavior Therapist, 41(7), 314-321.
  16. Williams, M. T., Kanter, J. W., & Ching, T. H. W. (2018). Anxiety, stress, and trauma symptoms in African Americans: Negative affectivity does not explain the relationship between microaggressions and psychopathology. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 5(5), 919–927.
  17. Kanter, J. W., Williams, M. T., Kuczynski, A. M., Manbeck, K., Debreaux, M., & Rosen, D. (2017). A preliminary report on the relationship between microaggressions against Blacks and racism among White college students. Race and Social Problems, 9(4), 291–299. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12552-017-9214-0
  18. DeLapp, R. C. T., & Williams, M. T. (2015). Professional challenges facing African American psychologists: The presence and impact of racial microaggressions. The Behavior Therapist, 38(4), 101-105.

All Publications

Call for Papers

Special Issue: Power, Discrimination and Privilege in Individuals and Institutions

This research topic explores forms of covert or unexamined institutional power structures, systems, and their psychological effects and consequences.

Guest Editors

Sonya Faber
Monnica Williams
Matthew Skinta
Bia Labate

Learn More

Popular Books by Dr. Monnica Williams


Managing Microaggressions:
Addressing Everyday Racism in Therapeutic Spaces


Mental Health

Sexual Obsessions in OCD: Definitive Guide to Understanding, Diagnosis, & Treatment



Eliminating Race-Based Mental Health Disparities: Equity and Culturally Responsive Care