Gendered Racial Microaggressions, Racial Battle Fatigue, and Intergenerational Learning with Three Generations of Black Women
Counseling and Educational Psychology
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This dissertation investigated the experiences of three generations of Black women with intergenerational transmission of trauma and learning as it relates to (gendered) racial microaggressions, racial macroaggressions, racial battle fatigue, vicarious trauma via media, and racial socialization through a Black feminist and symbolic interactionism lensThis qualitative research study employed thematic narrative analysis, and field interviews were guided by three primary questions: (1) How have historical factors, current events, media, and multigenerational family beliefs/ stories influenced the perceptual frame used by Black women to understand personal experiences of microaggressions, macroaggressions, racism, racial battle fatigue (RBF), and how do they differ across generations?; (2) What are the affective, cognitive, and behavioral coping mechanisms used by Black women in response to RBF and how do they differ across generations?; and (3) What are the stories of mental illness and wellness of Black women in response to microaggressions, macroaggressions, racism, RBF, and how do they [the stories] influence the healing methods they engage in (e.g., counseling, spirituality/religion, etc.)? How do they differ by generation? (Riessman, 2008). Two families, three generations in each (a total of six participants) shared their narratives. Family one consisted of Queen (Silent generation), Brenda T (Baby Boomer generation), and Tanisha (Gen X generation), and family two consisted of Muffin (Silent generation), Amethyst (Gen X generation), and Marie (Millennial generation). Two to three themes were identified for each family member. In family one the following themes were present: Queen: Preparing for What’s to come…Prejudice Is Inevitable and God is the Center of it All; Brenda T: Memories of Segregation, Racial Profiling, and Other Aggressions, and Opening Doors through Education and Advocacy; and Tanisha: Memories of Racism and Other Aggressions and Pouring Love into Each Other. For family two the following themes were present: Muffin: I’ve Lived It: Segregation and Other Aggressions and You Have to Survive; Amethyst: If They Won’t Help Us, I Will: Advocacy and You Have to be the Best and I Wasn’t Designed to be Vulnerable; and Marie: Am I a Product of My Environment?: Perceptions of Stereotypes and Generational Patterns; I am Not My Family, But They Are A Part of Me; and, Carrying the Torch: Legacies of Empowerment. The findings of this study highlight the importance of the counseling field and its various stakeholders to possess an understanding of how Black women are impacted by racial battle fatigue in conjunction with their intergenerational learning or inheritance of the Strong Black Woman (SBW) schema.