Survey: Stress Levels of Microaggression on Black Women

Posted by Sidney, 29 Jul

Dr. Jioni Lewis, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville is conducting a survey on Black women asking them "how stressed they feel when someone comments on their butt, hips, or thighs, perceives them as strong or angry, or imitates a black female dialect."

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The survey begins with the phrase:“Based on my experiences as a Black woman,”

Someone accused me of being angry when I was speaking in a calm manner

I have been told that I am too independent

Someone has made me feel unattractive because I am a Black woman

Those participating in the survey are supposed to select one of six options - between 'NEVER' to 'ONCE A WEEK OR MORE'. And for every statement there is a 'Stress Appraisal' that the event may have sparked, which also has six frequency options between 'THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED TO ME' to 'EXTREMELY STRESSFUL'.

Below are some more statements on the survey:

In talking with others, someone has told me to calm down

Someone has made a sexually inappropriate comment about my butt, hips, or thighs

I have been perceived to be an ‘angry black woman’ ” are all statements on the first page of the survey.

I have received negative comments about my hair when I wear it in a natural hairstyle

I have felt excluded from networking opportunities by White co-workers

Someone perceived me to be sexually promiscuous (sexually loose)

Other statements also ask the participants if someone has ever imitated the 'perceived' black woman's talk with citations like “g-i-r-l-f-r-i-e-n-d”; just because one is black, people expect one to be a strong woman or have a specific body figure.

One of the sections also asked the survey participants how they coped with stress emanating from racism or sexism. The copying mechanisms listed include drugs or alcohol use, to making jokes out of the situations. The survey also includes a series of questions exclusive to being a 'black woman', with seven choices on an agreement-disagreement scale. Here are some of the statements:

My destiny is tied to the destiny of other Black women

I have a strong sense of belonging to Black women

A couple of questions were in relation to how the society perceives black women: Are black women "more ineffective" that women of other races? Are they “respected by the broader society.” There is also a question on sexual orientation “heterosexual,” “lesbian,” “bisexual,” “queer,” “questioning,” “agender,” and a blank for sexual orientation that isn't listed.

There is also a make up question with about 14 skin tones to choose from: “If you were to purchase foundation (make-up) for your face, which one of the following colors would most closely match your skin complexion? Please pick the letter that corresponds to the color that best matches the foundation color of your choice.”

The survey is 139 questions in length and participants who complete it will be entered to win one out of three $100 gift cards. To participate in the survey, CLICK HERE

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