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“From All Sides”: Black-Asian Reddit Communities Identify and Expand Experiences of the Multiracial Microaggression Taxonomy

Department of Sociology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30313, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Soc. Sci. 2022, 11(4), 168;
Received: 15 October 2021 / Revised: 25 March 2022 / Accepted: 28 March 2022 / Published: 6 April 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiracial Identities and Experiences in/under White Supremacy)


The purpose of this paper is to examine the identity narratives of online Black-Asian communities concerning their multiracial microaggression experiences. As we are investigating an under-explored population, we utilize a purposive sampling method to narrow forum engagement by Black-Asian users on the popular social media network, Reddit. Our research is guided by multiracial critical theory (MultiCrit) which highlights monoracism as a ubiquitous element of the monoracial paradigm of race. In our research, we employ a content analysis using Black-Asian microaggression narratives to test the existing multiracial microaggression taxonomy. Our findings demonstrate that Black-Asian subreddit communities identified all of the existing multiracial microaggression categories: (1) exclusion or isolation; (2) exotification and objectification; (3) assumption of monoracial or mistaken identity; (4) denial of multiraciality; (5) pathologizing of identity and experiences; and (6) microaggressions based on racial stereotypes. Our analysis also found an emerging microaggression category entitled (7) white-mixed superiority. These multiracial microaggressions drew on monoracist ideologies and the monoracial paradigm of race, which exclude Black-Asian people and aid the maintenance of white supremacy in the United States. As such, we suggest further inquiry and expansion of the multiracial microaggression taxonomy to include how racism, particularly the monoracial paradigm of race, influences non-white multiracial identities.

It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.—W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folks (1903/1989, p. 3)

1. Introduction

Racial scholarship exploring overt and covert forms of racism as a tool of white supremacy is on the rise (Almaguer 2009; Bonilla-Silva 2014; Chou and Feagin 2008; Essed 1991; Feagin 2006; Solórzano 1998; Sue et al. 2007; Sue et al. 2008). Relative to obscure demonstrations of racism, racial microaggressions are now at the forefront of psychological and sociological discourse (Huynh 2012; Jones and Galliher 2015; Nadal et al. 2012; Ong et al. 2013; Sue et al. 2007; Sue 2010; Pérez Huber and Solórzano 2015; Walls et al. 2015; Yosso et al. 2009). Scholars often describe racial microaggressions as subtle everyday instances of racism including insults or gestures that trigger adverse mental and physical health outcomes for people of color (Clark et al. 1999; Harrell et al. 2003; Santana et al. 2007; Steffen and Bowden 2006; Sue 2010). Therefore, white supremacist notions guide racial microaggressions in preserving the dominance of Whiteness over minoritized groups.
A principal critique (Wijeyesinghe and Jackson 2001; Nadal et al. 2013) of racial microaggression lexicon is the exclusion of multiracial groups. Critical race theorists highlight how the United States relies on and maintains Black–White binaries, even within an ever-shifting racial landscape (Almaguer 2009; Delgado and Stefancic 2017; Lopez 2006; Marx 1998; Ochoa 2013). Microaggression studies and critical race theory (CRT) were previously limited by the Black/White paradigm in which the identities of people who are not solely Black or White are overlooked (Deliovsky and Kitossa 2013; Perea 1997). This can lead to other racially/ethnically minoritized experiences being compared with and/or pitted against that of monoracial Black people (Delgado and Stefancic 2017; Ochoa 2013). Additionally, multiracial people are specifically invisibilized.
The exclusion of multiracial populations within racial microaggression research is also significant given that multiracial people are the fastest-growing racial minority in the United States (Shih and Sanchez 2009; Jackson 2010). Moreover, the hegemonic representation of Whiteness in mixed-race research (Charmaraman et al. 2014) fails to account for multiracial people who hold compounded racialized identities. This limitation does a disservice to the understanding of racial microaggressions experienced by those who hold more than one racially minoritized identity or heritage. For example, Root (2001) found that multiracial Black-Asian persons (individuals of both Black and Asian descent) faced increased racism compared with multiracial Asian–White individuals (Johnston and Nadal 2010). Multiracial individuals and groups disrupt rigid (mono-)racial categorization implemented by colonialism and white supremacy that further racialized social control (Almaguer 2009; Lopez 2006; Marx 1998).
With the ever-evolving nature of racial and ethnic groups in the United States, it is imperative to explore non-White multiraciality to conceptualize their position within the broader mono-racial hierarchy. We utilize multiracial critical theory (MultiCrit) to intentionally examine multiraciality outside of the Black–White binary (Harris 2016). MultiCrit is pivotal in preventing the minimization and invisibilization processes that erase individual and group experiences of multiracial people (Harris 2016, 2017). In our study, Black-Asian individuals experienced multiracial microaggressions from White communities and communities of color. In congruence with Harris (2016), we argue that monoracism, in the form of multiracial microaggressions, holds differential power under white supremacy when enacted by monoracial White people compared with monoracial Black and Asian people.
The purpose of this paper is to examine Black-Asian experiences of multiracial microaggressions across the popular social network, Reddit. This work utilizes a purposive sampling method (Etikan et al. 2016) to narrow multiracial microaggression narratives by self-identifying Black-Asian Reddit users. Then, we employ a directed content analysis using the multiracial microaggression taxonomy and the monoracial paradigm of race as a framework for our research.

2. Literature Review

2.1. Racial Microaggressions

Substantial scholarship elucidates the prevalence of racial microaggressions in everyday interactions (Johnson and Joseph-Salisbury 2018; Joseph-Salisbury 2019; Pérez Huber and Solórzano 2015; Solórzano 1998; Solórzano et al. 2000; Sue et al. 2007; Sue 2010). Racial microaggressions are defined as “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color” (Sue et al. 2007, p. 271). Other scholars highlight how racial microaggressions interact with identity characteristics beyond race. For example, they can be “layered assaults, based on race and its intersections with gender, class, sexuality, language, immigration status, phenotype, accent or surname” (Pérez Huber and Solórzano 2015, p. 298). Furthermore, microaggressions are chronic stressors that affect the holistic health of people of color with the potential to trigger the development of psychological and physiological health issues (Sue 2010; Pérez Huber and Solórzano 2015).

2.2. The Multiracial Microaggression Taxonomy

Johnston and Nadal (2010, p. 132) proposed a theoretical taxonomy to report “microaggressions based on multiracial status, which send hostile, derogatory, or negative messages toward multiracial persons.” The authors captured five multiracial microaggressions which are “experienced by multiracial persons of any racial makeup or phenotype” (Johnston and Nadal 2010, p. 132). These five microaggressions are highlighted by multiracial respondents and consist of (1) exclusion or isolation; (2) exotification and objectification; (3) assumption of monoracial or mistaken identity; (4) denial of multiraciality; and (5) pathologizing of identity and experiences (Johnston and Nadal 2010). Utilizing survey data from 262 multiracial respondents, Nadal et al. (2011) expanded the taxonomy to include (6) microaggressions based on racial stereotypes. Below, we discuss the six multiracial microaggression categories in detail.
One of the most dominant microaggressions Johnston and Nadal (2010) identified among multiracial respondents was exclusion or isolation from monoracial groups. Scholars (see Root 1998; Nadal et al. 2013) found that multiracial participants report exclusion and harassment consistently from monoracial family members simply for being a non-monoracial person. In fact, Nadal et al. (2013) argue that a unique element of multiracial microaggressions is the pervasive experiences of racism within a multiracial person’s family. Some multiracial respondents even identify favoritism within their families based on lighter skin tone (Nadal et al. 2013).
Multiracial folks also report dehumanization processes through racial exotification and objectification (Johnston and Nadal 2010). As Nadal et al. (2013) state, mixed-race respondents consistently report that their race(s) is on display in casual interactions. Questions such as “What mix are you?” or “What are you?” demonstrate that multiracial groups are forced to reflect upon themselves as racialized objects (Nadal et al. 2013, p. 192).
Assumption of monoracial or mistaken identity originally emerged to account for monoracial populations who “speak to them in different languages (particularly languages that were not related to their heritage)” or “make racist or stereotypical jokes, not knowing that they were multiracial and identified with the targeted race or heritage” (Nadal et al. 2013, p. 192). However, multiracial folks experience external pressures to ascribe to one race—particularly among family members. For instance, Nadal et al. (2013, p. 197) discovered that monoracial family members engage in “recruitment”, where multiracial participants are asked to “to favor or engage in the cultural practices of one race over the other.”
Denial of multiraciality is the fourth identified multiracial microaggression. Research consistently finds that monoracial people deny multiracial identities (Gillem and Thompson 2004; Nadal et al. 2013; Rockquemore and Laszloffy 2003; Rockquemore and Brunsma 2004; Shih and Sanchez 2005). This theme explains monoracial denial of multiracial discrimination. For example, multiracial respondents report that they were often told to “get over” experiences of racism (Johnston and Nadal 2010).
The fifth identified multiracial microaggression is pathologizing of identity and experiences, where monoracial people act in condescending or patronizing ways towards discussions of multiraciality (Johnston and Nadal 2010). Within this microaggression, monoracial folks do acknowledge multiraciality, but with negative judgment. For example, multiracial respondents explained that monoracial peers would call them “crazy”, when they explained their culture or heritage.
The final microaggression that emerged is microaggressions based on racial stereotypes (Nadal et al. 2011). Within their study, multiracial people reported prejudice based on racial stereotypes. For example, a mixed-race person of Asian heritage explained that people often assumed they were smart in math and science. Compared with monoracial people of color, multiracial people who hold compounded racially minoritized identities are exposed to racist stereotypes for both/all of their racial groups. In the next section, we discuss how these five multiracial microaggressions impact Black-Asians within the United States.

2.3. Multiracial Microaggressions in Black-Asian Literature

2.3.1. Exclusion or Isolation

As double-minoritized people, scholarship exhibits that Black-Asians internally question their place in the communities that represent their heritage when members of those same communities do not accept or acknowledge their multiracial identity. For instance, Talbot (2008) assessed self-labeling in ten multiracial individuals with two racial minority parents including five mixed Asian and Black/African Americans. Many of the study participants revealed not feeling Black or Asian “enough” leading to feelings of isolation and alienation. In Blackapina, (Stickmon et al. 2017), a woman of African-American and Filipinx-American descent describes being a mixed-race individual as existing at the intersections of life or at a crossroads. This is a divergent racial experience from those who ascribe to monoraciality. Stickmon et al. (2017, p. 34) argues that multiracial persons should be able to “walk multiple paths at the same time” and that this may incorporate “defying the conventional, the orthodox, the hegemonic.” These examples reveal how this group struggles to feel integrated, accepted or “enough” within United States’ society where monoraciality has been normalized and reified.

2.3.2. Exoticization and Objectification

Mixed-race research often highlights the existence of microaggressions or indirect dehumanizing behavior rooted in prejudice, bias, or discrimination against marginalized groups (Sue et al. 2016; Sue et al. 2008). Studies and the literature that explore Black-Asian experiences reveal the same issue. In the book Blasian Invasion, Washington (2017b) assesses how popular culture disseminates hypersexualized depictions of Black and Asian (Blasian) women; thus, visually and symbolically demonstrating this microaggression. These representations of Blasian women in the media utilize gendered racism to project the notion that Blasian women are desirable objects due to their “exotic” looks and hyper-sexualized sexuality. Similarly, in Castillo et al.’s (2020) study, researchers evaluated how internalized oppression impacts Black-Asian identity development. A common theme amongst the shared experiences of the Black-Asian participants encompassed their identity, attracting special attention from individuals who fetishize their “exoticism” or racial heritage, making the participants feel as though they are rare objects of investigation. It is important to note that the dehumanization of Black-Asian individuals due to their mixed-race heritage damages the social standing of this group, consequently aiding the superiority of White monoraciality.

2.3.3. Assumption of Monoracial or Mistaken Identity

Omi and Winant (2015, p. viii) contend that “Race is ‘ocular’ in an irreducible way. Human bodies are visually read, understood and narrated.” The ambiguity of multiracial people’s appearance often disrupts hegemonic understandings of race; thus, sometimes initiating microaggressions related to monoracism. During an interview in Aracena’s (2017, p. 44) research of Blasian youth’s racialized experiences, a participant shared that he would be asked questions such as: “Oh why you look like that? Why is your skin so dark? You have a Japanese parent but why do you look so different?” Likewise, in Castillo et al.’s (2020, p. 240) study on how internalized oppression impacts Black-Asian identity development, a participant named David expressed “it’s not quite clear that I’m mixed with Asian so for that reason, my experiences are largely going to be that of someone who is a Black guy. That’s just how people perceive me.” Overall, external incomprehensibility and a lack of racial intelligibility concerning physical appearance results in many mixed-race persons feeling othered or questioned. Monoracial perceptions of multiracial individuals inadvertently reject all parts of their racial/ethnic background; thus, demonstrating the omnipresence of white ideologies that preserve white dominance.

2.3.4. Denial of Multiracial Reality

In a monoracially ordered society, the idea of a multiracial reality impedes the solidity of the standard monoracial stratification cultivated by Whites to uphold their racial superiority. Frequently, microaggressions render Black-Asian mixed-persons dissimilar from the confines of the hegemonic racial structure. Drawing on personal experiences as a Black-Asian woman, Houston (2017, p. 23) argues that a more comprehensive way to delineate multiracial identity is to consider it as the self-identifier of an “individual who embodies and embraces two or more races or ethnicities (with at least one being of color) in a composite identity.” On the contrary, Whites formulated a systemic conceptualization of race in a manner that disregards the “total genealogical ethnic actualities” of multiracial people through the confinement and rigidity of racial categorizations as well as the invalidation of composite racial heritage (Houston 2017, p. 24). Another example of society denying Black-Asians’ reality lies within Fellezs’ (2012) article about the media reception of Jero, Japan’s first Black-Asian enka artist who phenotypically does not align with “normative” ideas of Japanese identity. While Jero embraces both sides of his lineage, the media often questions whether he is Black or Japanese “enough” to be recognized by each of the respected communities (Fellezs 2012). In doing so, the media and wider public reject his multiracial identity and hinder his capacity to navigate a positionality amongst two races. This experience aligns with Naomi Osaka’s—a multiracial Afro-Haitian and Japanese athlete—treatment and discussion of her racial identities/heritages within the media. For example, in a recent Netflix documentary, Naomi Osaka discusses mainstream confusion between race and nationality that renders Black-Asian individuals both invisible and hyper-visible (Bradley 2021). When multiracial realities of Black-Asian persons are challenged, the existence of multiraciality is invalidated. This process works to erase and invisibilize multiraciality while reinforcing white supremacy within the broader monoracial paradigm of race.

2.3.5. Pathologizing of Identity and Experiences

Mixed-race individuals receive messages from society that suggest they are perplexed about their identity or that their existence is deviant, as they do not fit the standard monoracial schema. Relatedly, the Black-Asian literature also exhibits the pathologizing of identity and experiences. In Castillo et al.’s (2020, p. 238) article, Black-Asian participants reported that they were told “Black people do not do that kind of stuff,” or asked, “Are you proud to be Black?” In My So-Called Identity, Mitzi Uehara Carter (1999), the daughter of an Okinawan (Japanese origin) mother and African American father, discusses her experience as an individual of mixed-Asian descent. Mitzi recounts “half-hidden looks of disgust” from other Japanese women towards her mother due to their disapproval of interracial marriage and the by-product of multiracial children (Carter 1999, p. 202). When reflecting on the realities of belonging to the multiracial Asian community, Carter (1999, p. 202) asserts “[their] bodies, [their] presence, [their] reality are a nuisance to some because [they] defy a definite and demarcated set of boundaries.” Both experiences mentioned displays of how wider society internalizes normative white supremacist ideas of race as static, “pure”, and monoracial. In turn, there is a disdain for deviation from monoracial norms which is conveyed through microaggressions towards Black-Asian individuals. Research has yet to explore the multiracial microaggressions that Black-Asian individuals experience in the United States. This speaks to how race is often essentialized within race scholarship as well as the absence of interrogating multiraciality in microaggression literature.

2.3.6. Microaggressions as Racial Stereotypes

Nadal et al. (2011) found that mixed-race populations experience racial stereotyping at similar rates to monoracial minority groups. Unfortunately, there is little empirical investigation into how Black-Asian individuals self-report racial stereotypes; thus, most of the research on Black-Asian stereotypes draws from representation in the media (Herold et al. 2020; Washington 2015, 2017a; Feng 2018). For instance, Herold et al. (2020) analyzed the identity construction of Vietnamese and African-American actress, Karrueche Tran, in the television show Claws (Laurence 2018). Their findings suggest that popular culture stereotypes Black-Asian womanhood as hyper-sexual, parallel to the “jezebel” controlling image stereotype of monoracial Black women (Hill Collins 2000) or the purity stereotype of monoracial Asian women (Chou 2012; Herold et al. 2020). For illustration, Herold et al. (2020) find that multiracial Black-Asian women are depicted as simply “displaying” sexuality, whereas monoracial Black women are shown to “deploy” theirs. Furthermore, in a review of media coverage on Tiger Woods, Washington (2015) found that the professional golf player navigates both Black racial stereotypes, such as “hyper-sexuality”, “hyper-aggression”, and “criminality”, and Asian stereotypes such as “bad-driver”, and “femininity”. Thus, as a double minoritized group, Black-Asian individuals are vulnerable to racial stereotypes from all sides of their identity, particularly in the form of racialized and/or gendered sexualization.

3. Conceptual Framework

3.1. Critical Race Theory and MultiCrit Theory

Critical race theory (CRT) is a framework that elucidates the connection between race, racism, and power as well as the ways in which they manifest within society and culture in the United States (Crenshaw et al. 1995; Delgado 1993; Taylor 1998). Although the inception of CRT began within legal studies, CRT can be applied and utilized within multiple disciplines, including within Sociology. Critical race theorists do not approach all social problems in the same way, however, central tenets guide and ground the theory across disciplines. These key tenets include (a) the centrality and ordinary nature of race, racism, and their intersections with other forms of oppression; (b) the challenge to dominant ideology; (c) a commitment to racial and social justice; (d) the importance of experiential knowledge, narratives, and counter-storytelling; and (e) trans- and inter-disciplinary perspectives and approaches (Harris 2017; Solórzano et al. 2000).
Although critical race theorists recognize the limitations of binary thinking in relation to social reality, including the utilization of the Black–White binary in relation to race and racism (Delgado and Stefancic 2017), a monoracial paradigm of race remains largely persistent within CRT. CRT developed in conjunction with civil rights efforts spearheaded by African Americans (Brayboy 2005; Harris 2016), which influenced this school of thought to focus on race relations in alignment with the Black/White binary. Consequently, scholars that focus on other racialized groups expanded CRT to account for individuals who exist outside of the Black/White binary such as Latinx CRT (LatCrit), tribal CRT (TribalCrit), and Asian CRT (AsianCrit). The emergence of LatCrit, TribalCrit, and AsianCrit provides space for racialized experiences and social problems to be centered, such as dispossession of land, citizenship, migration, xenophobia, and linguistic discrimination (Brayboy 2005; Ochoa 2013). In a similar way, critical multiracial theory (MultiCrit) adds to CRT by highlighting the ways in which race is not only socially constructed but also that race is explicitly constructed in a way that adheres to monoracial understandings of race and racism (Harris 2016, 2017). Harris (2016) specifically adapts four key tenets of CRT to formulate a comprehensive MultiCrit. These include (a) racism as endemic expanded to racism, monoracism, and colorism; (b) structural determinism and Black/White binary adapted to the monoracial paradigm of race; (c) differential racialization expanded to differential micro-racialization; and (d) intersectionality adapted to the intersections of multiple racial identities. MultiCrit is guided by CRT but allows for a focus on multiracial complexities, colorism, monoracism, and histories of anti-miscegenation as they relate to a monoracial social order (Harris 2017).

3.2. The Monoracial Paradigm of Race and Monoracism

MultiCrit encourages moving beyond a critique of binary thinking in relation to race; instead, it highlights a particular monoracial paradigm of race which does not allow space or language for multiracial individuals (Harris 2016, 2017). This monoracial paradigm of race has been co-constructed through white supremacy in the United States. Racial categories are not only socially constructed, as highlighted by CRT, but are also constructed through a rigid monoracial schema (Guillermo-Wann and Johnston 2012; Harris 2016). The monoracial paradigm of race relies on monoracism, which can be defined as “a social system of psychological inequality where individuals who do not fit monoracial categories may be oppressed on systemic and interpersonal levels because of underlying assumptions and beliefs in singular, discrete racial categories” (Johnston and Nadal 2010, p. 125). Monoracism is inextricably linked with racism, given that there are numerous types of racism (Guillermo-Wann and Johnston 2012), and serves as a tool to maintain a monoracial-only paradigm of race, thereby erasing, excluding, and invisibilizing multiracial people (Harris 2017).
The monoracial paradigm of race operates at the individual, interactional, and institutional levels, whereby monoracial identities are imposed onto multiracial individuals through forced self-identification, interpersonal relations, and institutional organization. Monoracism can be perpetuated by all racial groups, however, monoracism is most often “horizontally perpetuated by communities of color, vertically perpetuated by white communities, and may also be internalized and maintained by multiracial individuals” (Harris 2016, p. 806). As the social construction of race and the monoracial paradigm of race were implemented through colonialism and racialized social control, the monoracial paradigm of race should be understood as forced upon monoracial Black and Asian individuals through socialization in the United States, rather than willingly adopted. Regardless of the racial background of the enacter, monoracism does have the potential to invoke negative mental, emotional, and psychological impacts for multiracial people, however, the directional differentiations (horizontal vs. vertical) help to demarcate differences in institutional power and privilege when these microaggressions occur. Particularly, the ways in which monoracism and the monoracial paradigm of race reinforce and uphold white supremacy, while subjugating other monoracial groups, only benefits white communities.
Given that the multiracial microaggression taxonomy is the most popularized model surrounding multiracial microaggressions, we utilize this framework within our analysis of Black-Asian Reddit users. For our study, we test, focus, and critique the multiracial microaggression taxonomy by exploring microaggression narratives of Black-Asian Reddit users. As biracial/multiracial populations with White heritage are overrepresented in mixed-race research (Charmaraman et al. 2014), we explore how current microaggression categories compare with a multiracial population that holds two or more racially minoritized identities. In doing so, we explicate how these incursions, derivative of white supremacist notions, maintain multiracial subordination as well as bolster monoracial and monoracist paradigms of race.

4. Materials and Methods

4.1. Data Integrity

As user-generated threads and comments on Reddit are publicly available, our data is designated by the University’s Institutional Review Board as not involving human subjects. Therefore, our research is not relevant to institutional review board jurisdiction. We do, however, acknowledge the ethical implications of mining personalized experiences from online minority communities (see Orton-Johnson 2010). Thus, to protect the identities of Black-Asian Redditors and uphold our study’s ethical integrity, we removed all usernames as well as the subreddit names from our analysis. In addition, we altered the block quotes in our findings to further bolster Black-Asian anonymity. We performed this by using synonyms for three-to-five base words per sentence. In addition, all authors independently analyzed altered quotes to ensure that the original context of Black-Asian microaggression experiences was honored.

4.2. Reddit

Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman designed Reddit in 2005 as an online discussion platform where users can curate niche communities, called subreddits (Vella 2015). Subreddits offer users a space to post content “focusing on different areas of interests” (Chang-Kredl and Colannino 2017, p. 44). Reddit is popular among qualitative researchers because subreddits are structured as “a kind of unmoderated virtual focus group” (Holtz et al. 2012, p. 4). For illustration, Ovadia (2015) argues that Reddit allows researchers to access representative and high-engagement discussions surrounding concentrated themes. The dominant contributing factor for the social network’s success is the anonymity offered to users. Users do not have to provide any official, verified, or personal information to create an account, which separates the site from competitors such as Facebook or Twitter (Kennedy et al. 2016). As such, some scholars (see Chang-Kredl and Colannino 2017, p. 44) argue that the anonymity provided to Reddit users promotes “sharing practices…[that] have a personal, firsthand characteristic to them, and protects its users from repercussions of oversharing or making inappropriate comments”.
Reddit user engagement happens in “threads”, which are individualized user posts that consist of comments, links or media. These posts make up subreddits, which are Reddit communities. Additionally, users have the ability to either comment or up/down vote on threads within subreddit pages. Threads with more activity receive more visibility on the subreddit page. For illustration, Kennedy et al. (2016, p. 151) found that the platform’s algorithm allowed high engagement threads to “rise to the top of the page, while less popular content … sink(s).”
We chose to investigate Reddit for many reasons. Firstly, the site contributes convenience with “ready made” data (Merriam and Tisdell 2015). Secondly, Reddit is extraordinarily popular, with over 50 million daily users, Reddit colloquially refers to themselves as “The Front Page of the Internet” (Brudno 2012). Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we chose Reddit because it hosts many discussion-driven focus groups surrounding concentrated issues. As such, we sample subreddit discussion posts among self-identifying Black-Asian Reddit users. In doing so, we examine the relevance of the multiracial microaggression taxonomy in reported online experiences.

4.3. Defining the Research Population

We utilize “Black” through a global lens, recognizing the multiplicity of Black identities. We draw on a multi-generational, multi-ethnic, and queer definition of Blackness to define Black as individuals “who are part of the African diaspora including Black, African, African-American, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Indigenous, Afro-Latina, Afro-Asia, Afro-European” (Beyond Bold and Brave 2018). Drawing on Chou’s (2012, p. 5) intersectional work on Asian Americans; we employ “Asian” to be inclusive of all Asian ethnicities encompassing “Taiwanese, Chinese, Indian, Filipino, Korean, Malaysian, Vietnamese, Hmong, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Japanese, Thai” identities. We expand “Asian” to also be inclusive of diasporic Asian identities such as, but not limited to, Indo/Chinese-Caribbean, Indo/Chinese-Mauritian, and Indo-Fijian.
We also identify Black-Asian groups through targeting specific multiracial Asian identity communities. For example, multiracial Asian populations embrace the identity label “Hapa.” Kip Fulbeck (2006), the first to define the term, contends that this identity derives from mixed-race heritage that includes Asian or Pacific Islander ancestry. Scholars typically argue that the Hapa label became popularized by activism to emphasize monoracism against the Asian community (Fulbeck 2006; Ozaki and Johnston 2008; Bernstein and Cruz 2009; Rabin 2012). For instance, Rabin (2012, p. 122) writes “As a response to the invisibility of mixed race individuals within our traditional racial schema, Hapa has emerged as a means for visibility and community-building.” While our research aims to be as inclusive as possible, we recognize that some Asian ethnicities may not be fully represented within our definition of this research population. In our research, our sample population of multiracial Black-Asian individuals must self-identify heritages from both Black and Asian pan-ethnic racial groups; however, we also include persons that self-identify Black and Asian heritages in addition to other racial identities.

4.4. Data Collection

As we are researching an under-explored multiracial population (Charmaraman et al. 2014), we employ a purposive sampling method (Etikan et al. 2016) to identify Black-Asian online engagement. For our sampling procedure, we ran searches on the Reddit homepage using the keywords: “blasian”, “black and asian”, “asian and black”, “half black half asian”, “half asian half black”, “blasian identity”, ”hapa”, and “hapa black asians”. Each researcher on the study independently conducted searches using the designated key words. Then, we identified threads with higher discussion activity based on their visibility on subreddit pages (Kennedy et al. 2016). Our data collection began in April of 2021 and lasted two months in total.
We identified appropriate subreddit threads based on their applicability to our research area: the multiracial microaggression taxonomy framework (Johnston and Nadal 2010; Nadal et al. 2011; Nadal et al. 2013). In total, our sampling procedure captured 313 relevant user comments across fifteen subreddit discussion boards for analysis. All comments are from Reddit users who self-identified as Black-Asian in their discussion post. Since we are strictly investigating Black-Asian multiracial identity narratives, we removed all comments from Reddit users who did not self-identify, or who identified as something other than Black-Asian.

4.5. Analytical Strategy

For our analytical strategy, we first engage our data deductively with a directed content analysis. This method is beneficial for extending the “existing theory of prior research … about a phenomenon that is incomplete or would benefit from further description” (Hsieh and Shannon 2005, p. 1281). To validate and extend prior theories, directed content analyses draw directly from the existing literature. Specifically, qualitative scholars begin coding immediately with pre-existing themes (Humble 2009; Hsieh and Shannon 2005). Thus, we developed a codebook drawing from the multiracial microaggression taxonomy (Johnston and Nadal 2010; Nadal et al. 2011; Nadal et al. 2013).
We utilized Dedoose qualitative analysis software for our coding procedure. Each researcher conducted line-by-line descriptive coding (Gibbs 2018) for six identifiable microaggression categories: (1) exclusion and isolation; (2) exotification and objectification; (3) assumption of monoracial or mistaken identity; (4) denial of multiraciality; (5) pathologizing of identity and experiences; and (6) microaggressions based on racial stereotypes. Following our deductive procedure, we employed an inductive content analysis to search for emerging themes (Kyngäs 2020). We utilized Dedoose’s inter-reliability coding feature to ensure that coding was consistent among all coders. Consistent with Huberman and Miles’s (2002) suggestion for overall reliability, coders did not work independently on deductive or inductive coding until an 80% inter-reliability rate was achieved. Beginning in June of 2021, we underwent coding for approximately two months.

5. Findings

We found each of the six existing microaggressions categories: (1) exclusion and isolation; (2) exotification and objectification; (3) assumption of monoracial or mistaken identity; (4) denial of multiraciality; (5) pathologizing of identity and experiences; and (6) microaggressions based on racial stereotypes are present in the subreddit data. However, in our analysis, we discovered an emerging microaggression category entitled (7) White-mixed superiority. We offer this contribution to the existing taxonomy to demonstrate how Black-Asian Redditors experience microaggressions from the unique standpoint of a double-minoritized multiracial group. Below, we report Black-Asian manifestations among these seven microaggression categories. We follow our analysis with a discussion on the implications for future multiracial and/or microaggression research.

5.1. Exclusion and Isolation

Living within the margins of monoracial society is a common sentiment among multiracial persons. Feelings of exclusion and isolation was a common talking point among self-identified Black-Asian Redditors. A myriad of posts discussed being misunderstood or confused due to lack of multiracial representation in their lives. Feeling marginalized by monoracial groups was noted numerous times within the Black-Asian subreddit threads. For instance, one Redditor stated that they believed the Black community did not embrace them because they were of partial Asian descent while another postulated “if you’re mixed Black then you…get thrown out as not Black.” These examples of multiracial seclusion perceived by Black-Asian Reddit users suggest how habitual internalized race essentialization—notions of racial “authenticity” and ideologies that assert that race is composed of distinct classifications—is amongst monoracial communities of color (Johnston and Nadal 2010; Lopez 2006; Young et al. 2013). The subjugation of multiracial persons expressed in threads essentially works to sustain the monoracial paradigm of race; thus, reinforcing white supremacy.
Quotes by Black-Asian Redditors indicate that their doubly-marginalized identity may be the root of intensified experiences of isolation. For example, one Redditor wrote they felt discriminated against “from all sides…whether they exclude you out of malice, or pedestalize and fetishize you out of twisted desire, it’s nothing but a reminder of what an outsider you are and how commodified your very existence is.” Another example comes from a distressed Black-Asian individual who reflects on the heightened racism that both of their communities experience,
I am feeling very othered currently. I probably will always have this feeling. Recently, when I see racially motivated violence against an Asian person, I see people in the comments trying to link Black men to the crime. Which inevitably leads to anti-Black sentiments by Asians. It has been difficult for me to understand the racism and hostility between the two communities. How am I as a Black-Asian individual meant to exist? As part-Asian, I hate to see violence against my Asian community, and as part-Black I hate to see anti-Blackness. I do know that these racially motivated crimes have brought me back to feeling othered…I don’t think I will ever fit in with either community, especially when there is hostility between the two.
This sentiment highlights how Black-Asian individuals may navigate experiences of exclusion and isolation distinctively from multiracial individuals who are half White. For instance, in the quote above, the Redditor emphasizes experiencing distress for anti-Blackness and anti-Asian sentiments simultaneously, both of which are conduits of white supremacy (Ho 2021). The user then explains that the visibility of hate crimes against Asian peoples and subsequent anti-Blackness from Asians triggers their feelings of being othered. As well, they cannot find solace within either community that is experiencing discrimination; yet, remain feeling negatively impacted by both the anti-Blackness and anti-Asian hate crimes. Therefore, another unique dimension of the doubly-minoritized multiracial experience is that they may feel drawn to more intense isolation when both of their racially minoritized communities are undergoing discrimination or other oppressive conditions in confluence, especially if they do not feel included within either of their Black and Asian monoracial communities. Lastly, this Redditor emphasizes that “the hostility between the two” races has a direct impact on their sense of belonging, thus exemplifying how monoracism has a horizontal impact (see Harris 2016) between racially marginalized communities. In the exceptional case of the Black-Asian individuals, monoracism works to fully isolate their experience of multiraciality between two racially minoritized groups within the U.S.’ white supremacist society.

5.2. Exotification and Objectification

Black-Asian Redditors’ experiences of microaggressions related to exotification and objectification were mostly noted as a fascination with their racial background or physical features, which made them uncomfortable. Users verbalized that these microaggressions were directed from peers, family, and strangers. One individual posted “My Korean grandparents love to brag about me and my sibling…how exotic looking we are to friends in Korea and that they love it. Which is kinda weird.” This experience exemplifies how the user felt placed on display by their grandparents and unwillingly made to be the token for diversity in the family. Eventually causing the Black-Asian Redditor to feel objectified.
Comparably, a different Reddit user also shared a moment of unfound fascination with their hair:
Once this drunk Chinese man asked to touch my hair because his Black girlfriend lets him touch her hair all the time. However, we have completely different hair textures. Then, he told me my hair was really soft like a pillow and asked me if he could trim some and make a sofa (?).
The Black-Asian Redditor believes that the Chinese man’s curiosity and fascination in touching her hair communicates the idea that she was a spectacle or something to be put on display. From a sociological perspective, one may contend that this situation is deeply rooted in historically racist undertones. During times of slavery, Black hair was viewed as wild or untamed, which justified the dehumanization of this group through slavery (Byrd and Tharps 2014). The Chinese man from the anecdote may have thought he expressed admiration, but in the perspective of the Black-Asian Redditor, he both objectified and disrespected her agency over their own body (Hairston 2008; Phillips 2012).

5.3. Assumption of Monoracial or Mistaken Identity

Black-Asian Redditors articulated experiences where persons assumed their monoracial identity, which reflects the monoracial paradigm of race. Both White and non-White individuals perceived multiracial Black-Asians as monoracial, which is exemplary of the ways they internalize essentialized understandings of distinct racial categories (Almaguer 2009; Lopez 2006; Marx 1998). The monoracial paradigm of race works to exclude and erase multiracial individuals and their experiences. A clear pattern among Black-Asian Redditors was the role of racial passing, or the ability of multiracial individuals to present as monoracial based on the tone of their skin (Dawkins 2012). Most of the multiracial sample note racial passing as “Black” or “African American”. Consequently, those who racially pass acknowledge assumptions of monoraciality among peers, friends, and even family. We found that the politics of racial passing holds different meanings for Black-Asian Redditors depending on where they resided. For instance, one hapa woman from Vietnam explains that she feels pressure to be “lighter”, as Vietnam and other surrounding countries of the south-east Asian region have their own histories of colorism and racial categories (Hunter 2005; Norwood and Foreman 2013).
Black-Asian users list being mistaken for other ethnic identities, such as “Samoan”, or “Mexican”. Some explain that they could be mistaken for a wide range of racial and ethnic categories. As one Black-Asian woman puts it, monoracial people always follow a similar script: “You don’t look Black. You look [fill in the blank].” In another example, a user describes being mistaken by their (assumed Afro-) Jamaican family as Chinese:
Though, my family from Jamaica is worse. For instance, my cousins falsely call me “Jamaican chini” when I am not even Chinese. Also, when I go out in public people will bow and say “konnichiwa” or call me “Miss Chin.” My cousins are also problematic because they introduce us as Chinese/Blackanese to others.
This Redditor highlights that their identity is persistently mistaken as Chinese and mocked due to their Asian heritage. Similarly, past research on Asian identity experiences highlights these same issues. For example, a recent survey of 3000 Asian-American students finds that respondents experience numerous racial stereotypes, such as mistaken identity and the mocking of Asian languages (Yeo et al. 2019). Additionally, Ang (2005) argues that many Western nations hold a complicated and xenophobic relationship with China—which contributes to their citizens equating “Asian” with “Chinese”.

5.4. Denial of Multiraciality

Within the microaggression literature, multiracial respondents consistently identify disregard or rejection of their mixed-race heritage (Johnston and Nadal 2010; Nadal et al. 2011; Nadal et al. 2013). Black-Asian Reddit users reported feeling their multiraciality is denied or outright ignored. For example, one South Asian and Afro-Caribbean woman wrote that her Korean husband’s parents would not approve of their marriage “because to them [she’s] just black.”
We discovered that Redditors in the sample discussed micro-aggressive behavior from monoracial people within their family, which is consistent with past multiracial-microaggression research (Nadal et al. 2013). For example, Redditors within our sample identify denial from their monoracial parents. One Redditor explains that it is both “normal” and “high-key problematic” for parents of Black-Asian individuals “to disregard how they’ll be affected by a lack of involvement in all of their racial and cultural communities.” Interestingly, we recognize that users reported denial of multiracial experiences from within an adopted monoracial family. One example comes from a Black-Asian Redditor who has Korean adoptive parents:
My adoptive mother told me that I was not even Korean. It made me want to cry. At the age of 19, I’m moving out soon. After all these years, I still feel like I have accomplished nothing with my adoptive family. They still ignore my identity or the issues I struggle with
She explains that even amid persistent effort to express her multiraciality, her family still denies her identity. Similarly, another adopted Black-Asian user argued that their monoracial Black family attempted to “just raise [them] as black.” In all of these reports, monoracial individuals delegitimize multiracial experiences while upholding the monoracial paradigm of race. Thus, Black-Asian Redditors continue to highlight the pervasiveness of the denial of multiraciality microaggression.

5.5. Pathologizing of Identity and Experiences

Multiracial persons are often treated as if they are “at risk for cultural loss, identity confusion, and psychological problems caused genetically by mixed racial heritage” (Jackson and Samuels 2011, p. 238). The notion that monoraciality is the standard leads society to pathologize mixed-race persons (Nakashima 1992). When reviewing subreddit comments, we noticed that Black-Asian Reddit users generally offered solidarity with other Black-Asians to validate their collective experiences. For example, a Reddit user posted the following:
For Black and Asian kids with similar problems, please know you aren’t alone. It isn’t bad to be Asian. You also don’t have to be more Black. Just be you. If you need to embrace your Hapa identity then you should. We all need to challenge negative attitudes so that we can be healthy and discuss our issues.
It appears as though this Redditor wanted to ensure their community that each of them was not divergent due to their mixed-race heritage but instead that they should embrace their uniqueness. This quote conveys support for “Blasian kids” to just be themselves despite living in a society that operates through a monoracial paradigm.
Another Redditor said, “I’ve had many people ask me the golden question, ‘What are you?’ Gotten that since I was a child.” Essentially, this Reddit user’s experience demonstrates that multiracial people, including Black-Asians, disrupt the monoracial paradigm of race, leading monoracial individuals to view them as a source of fascination and confusion. Similarly, another Redditor shared an account she had at school where she voiced the plight of multiracial people with a peer and was faced with a hostile rejection. This user wrote, “I had a [B]lack girl come up to me and say ‘you’re a dumb mixed bitch who thinks she top shit cause she’s got the Chinese eyes’ after I said that mixed people have it rough.” The Black-Asian Redditor felt as though her peer treated her as if she was psychologically abnormal for even suggesting that being a mixed-race person is a formidable experience. Society’s tendency to pathologize multiracial persons is largely due to the fact that these individuals differ from and complicate monoracial understandings of identity and the broader monoracial paradigm of race. In this specific example, the Black-Asian Reddit user believes the Black girl employed a multiracial microaggression that exemplifies how communities of color internalize and uphold the monoracial paradigm of race, which has been co-constructed through white supremacy. The invalidation of Black-Asian experiences only further certifies monoracism’s tenacious role as a tool that upholds white supremacy.

5.6. Microaggressions Based on Racial Stereotypes

In support of the literature on Black-Asian racial stereotypes (Herold et al. 2020; Washington 2015, 2017a), we find that Black-Asian men and women Redditors described encounters where monoracial White, Black and Asian acquaintances, classmates, friends, and family members projected racialized, gendered, and hypersexualized stereotypes towards their multiracial identity. Our analysis indicates that Black-Asian users, particularly men, overwhelmingly discussed navigating stereotypes of their Black heritage as strong, masculine, hypersexual, ignorant, and deviant compared with their Asian heritage as weak, feminine, and submissive. For instance, one Black-Asian user explains how his Asian grandfather stereotyped all Black people as athletic:
Recently, my grandad was telling me that everybody wants Black in them and that I was lucky to be half black because it made me tall and athletic. He then explained if I had a Korean father then I would be short and unathletic.
Similarly, another Redditor writes how his Black family views their Asian features as weak and feminine, which “dilutes,” his “manly” or “Black” qualities. One Black-Asian individual even explains that his Black family members stereotype him as gay simply due to his Asian features. Other race and identity scholars find this same pattern when researching gendered stereotypes among Asian and Black men. Schug et al. (2015) write that Black men are most commonly associated with dominance and masculinity, whereas Asian men are correlated with emasculating qualities. Some researchers attribute the “undesirability” stereotype of Asian men to White racial framing of Asian men as weak and non-masculine (Chou 2012; Kao et al. 2018).
We found that Black-Asian women on Reddit report intense hypersexualization stereotypes from monoracial White, Black, and Asian men. A number of these women write that men refer to them with racially insensitive, gendered, and sexualized slurs, such as “cute gook.” Thus, our findings support past research that Black-Asian women are stereotyped as sexual objects (Herold et al. 2020). Histories of white supremacy and controlling images of Black and Asian women as sexualized objects (Chou 2012; Hill Collins 2004) are enacted vertically by White communities, as well as internalized and perpetuated horizontally by monoracial Black and Asian communities.
We also identify that Black-Asian women in our sample saw racial stereotypes based on colorist assumptions. Interestingly, Black-Asian women hypothesized that Black women give them the cold shoulder due to the attention they receive from monoracial Black men:
In my school, the Black boys tell me that I am better than dark-skinned Black girls because I am light skin and have nice hair and shit. That really makes me angry because dark-skinned Black girls are beautiful. Black boys shouldn’t compare me to them because it feeds into colorism. This honestly makes me not want to date the Black men at our school because I don’t want to be positioned above dark-skinned girls because of my light skin.
Thus, in line with past inquiry (Reece 2016), our data indicates that lighter-skinned multiracial Black women see that monoracial Black people perceive them as more privileged and attractive, within a white supremacist racial and color order, compared with dark-skinned women. Though gendered forms of colorism are understudied (Reece 2020), lighter-skinned Black and African American individuals can experience privileges in the United States education system (Hannon et al. 2013), the criminal justice system (Monk 2018), and with mental and physical health outcomes (Hargrove 2018). However, a lack of research engages the social or psychological consequences of light-skin Black individuals who hold awareness and disdain for experiences of colorism in the Black community. An emerging feature Black-Asian women Redditors present is the recognition of colorist practices as well as their inherent advantage within a colorist system. A few of these women additionally identify negative psycho-social impacts, such as stress and anxiety from encounters where others make assumptions or give them special privileges or attention based on their light skin.

5.7. White-Mixed Superiority

We identified “White-Mixed Superiority” as an emerging multiracial microaggression. This new category emphasizes how double-marginalized multiracial groups may experience microaggressions uniquely from White-mixed multiracial populations. Moreover, we contend that this microaggression is distinct from the existing taxonomy because Black-Asian respondents report White-mixed superiority derives largely from multiracial instead of monoracial groups. Specifically, we saw that Black-Asian Redditors discussed feeling marginal to “Wasians” or “Eurasians” (White and Asian). Typically, these users highlighted an instance of Wasians claiming superiority over Blasians. For illustration, one user posted that Wasians see themselves as “the master race” and “they often call other non-Eurasian hapas less than them.”
We also found that Black-Asian Redditors stress Wasian superiority alongside anti-Black racism. In one subreddit conversation, a Redditor wrote, “…I’ve experienced Wasians calling Blasians less than because of our ‘ape blood.’” Moreover, one Black-Asian discussant correlated assumed inferiority to Wasians based on the visibility of Blackness or Black features:
The entire idea that Wasians are superior to Black and Asian folks derives from Wasians easily passing off as completely Asian due to their “light passing” pale skin. In contrast, Blasians are visually mixed. This is because Blasians have “African” features that make us obviously different.
We note that this Black-Asian user defines “Wasian” superiority in terms of their ability to pass as monoracial. That is, they feel that Whiteness upholds a sense of Asian monoraciality; wherein, “African” features are seen as deterring from racial purity.
Black-Asian Reddit users expanded on the role of the multiracial family structure in projecting White-mixed superiority. One Redditor articulated the role of Wasian parents. They noted in their childhood having multiple Wasian acquaintances and that they experienced racial discrimination from friends with parents who projected anti-Black behaviors. For instance, one user wrote that a mother of a Wasian made subtly racist statements, such as “his older brother [Blasian] was intelligent even though he was ‘Black.’”

6. Discussion/Conclusions

Our findings support the existence of all of the multiracial microaggressions highlighted in Johnston and Nadal (2010) multiracial microaggression taxonomy. Utilizing subreddits, we found substantial data regarding experiences of (1) exclusion and isolation; (2) exotification and objectification; (3) assumption of monoracial or mistaken identity (4) denial of multiraciality; (5) pathologizing of identity and experiences; and (6) microaggressions based on racial stereotypes (Nadal et al. 2011). Additionally, our analysis of Black-Asian microaggression contributed a new multiracial microaggression for the taxonomy. White-mixed superiority emphasizes how Black-Asian respondents experience subtle forms of racism from White-mixed multiracial groups, namely “Wasians” or “Euroasians” and their family members. Black-Asian respondents reported that Wasian’s felt superiority because Whiteness allowed them closer proximity to a monoracial Asian identity. Thus, we argue that this new category demonstrates how double-minoritized multiracial populations may feel distinctive multiracial microaggressions in comparison with White-mixed multiracial populations.
This paper synergistically engages microaggressions and monoracism to cultivate a framework for understanding how multiracial microaggressions reinforce the ubiquity of white supremacy. Monoracial understandings of race promulgated by the Black–White binary uphold “pure” or “complete” Whiteness at the top of the racial hierarchy; thus, influencing covert acts of discrimination also known as racial microaggressions (Harris 2016; Zimring 2016). However, the ways in which multiracial Black-Asians experience these furtive hostilities are different from those who identify as monoracial Black or Asian (Johnston-Guerrero and Pecero 2016; Nadal et al. 2011). In fact, affiliating with a multiracial identity in a monoracist society subjects one to distinct acts of oppression that not only marginalize their racial identity but also target their monoracial legitimacy and racial ambiguity (Johnston-Guerrero et al. 2020). In this way, multiracial Black-Asian individuals are subjected to complex microaggressions that their monoracial counterparts in the United States do not face. This work illuminates how the relationship between multiracial microaggressions and multiraciality creates a distinctive oppressive experience for Black-Asians living in the United States who do not identify with one discrete or rigid racial classification.
We found that multiracial Black-Asian individuals experienced multiracial microaggressions from monoracial White, Black, and Asian individuals, as well as White-mixed multiracial groups. These microaggressions were perpetrated by strangers, friends, and family, leaving multiracial Black-Asian individuals with little space where they could embrace their full and holistic racial/ethnic identities in a group setting. Consistent with the previous microaggression literature, these instances of alienation, isolation, and a lack of belonging indicated significant emotional and psychological distress (Lackey 2021). Although multiracial microaggressions were perpetrated by White communities and communities of color, these experiences should be understood as perpetuated vertically by White communities and horizontally by communities of color (Harris 2016). Both maintain the monoracial paradigm of race, however, within a white supremacist system, multiracial microaggressions enacted by White people hold differential power compared with those enacted by people of color.
To fully understand the aforementioned distinction and the role that multiracial microaggressions play in aiding white supremacy, there must be recognition of the historical and contemporary processes of colonialism, racialized capitalism, and racialized social control which gave way to white supremacy. For example, the emergence of white supremacy in the United States intentionally constructed mutually exclusive racial groups (Almaguer 2009; Lopez 2006; Marx 1998) which can be seen through the monoracial paradigm of race (Harris 2016, 2017). The United States’ colonial organization of individuals into clear-cut Cartesian (racial) groups (Oyěwùmí 1997) upholds “scientific” notions of distinct races and aids racialized social control. This process of (mono)-racial categorization also perpetuates eugenicist legacies of racial “purity” (Omi and Winant 2015) whereby multiracial individuals are viewed as “impure” and. therefore, “Other”. Centuries later, monoracial identities remain normative, despite the growth in self-reporting of multiraciality. The existence of multiracial individuals, such as Black-Asians, presents a threat to the organization of the United States under white supremacy, which currently maintains hierarchies and deep-rooted systemic inequalities based on distinct racial groups, amongst other social identities. Multiracial Black-Asian individuals are one of many multiracial groups who blur the lines of distinct races, complicating white-supremacist processes of racialized social control. The microaggressions which Black-Asian people face are exemplary of how white supremacy as a system, monoracism, and the monoracial paradigm of race inform and influence multiracial Black-Asian experiences in the United States.

6.1. Limitations

Due to the anonymity of Reddit users, we were not able to fully employ an intersectional analysis to understand how other identity characteristics impact Black-Asian people’s experiences of multiracial microaggressions. For example, we did not always have access to Redditor’s demographic information in relation to gender identity, gender expression, color, ethnicity and sexual orientation, amongst other identities. To fully understand the nuances of how different systems of power and oppression converge and intersect, additional information about Redditors is needed, which was not always present. Some Redditor’s discussions showed that color, gender, and sexuality were mediating factors in multiracial people’s experiences. Without demographic data about all Redditors however, we were not able to fully account for how other systems of oppression such as sexism, colorism, and homophobia mediate Black-Asians experiences of multiracial microaggressions.

6.2. Future Research Directions

Our findings indicate implications for future social science research centered upon Black-Asian populations. Literature in this area is sincerely deficient and thus overlooks the epistemologies of these individuals. Future studies should investigate the discongruity in self-identified culture and monoracial identity among multiracial persons as well as how these impact their experiences. Black-Asian Reddit users reported microaggressions that exhibited fetishization and objectification involving their gender and other identity categories. Perhaps ensuing research can explicitly employ intersectionality in order to account for the ways in which sexism, colorism, xenophobia, and other systems of oppression converge with multiracial microaggressions. Likewise, we also suggest further inquiry into how Black-Asian and other multiracial groups of women experience gendered forms of colorism as microaggressions. Black-Asian Redditors also verbalized experiencing microaggressions directed from monoracial Black or Asian persons whether they were family or peers. Forthcoming studies may also want to explore interminority racism as a mechanism of white supremacy towards multiracial groups, especially concerning discrimination directed at individuals who are double minorities.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, M.I.J., and O.T.O.F.; methodology, T.M.G.; software, T.M.G., M.I.J., and O.T.O.F.; validation, T.M.G., M.I.J., and O.T.O.F.; formal analysis; T.M.G., M.I.J., and O.T.O.F.; investigation, T.M.G., M.I.J., O.T.O.F., resources T.M.G., M.I.J., and O.T.O.F.; data curation, T.M.G., M.I.J., and O.T.O.F.; writing—original draft preparation, T.M.G., M.I.J., and O.T.O.F.; writing—review, and editing T.M.G., M.I.J., and O.T.O.F.; visualization, T.M.G., M.I.J., and O.T.O.F.; supervision, O.T.O.F.; project administration, O.T.O.F. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


We would like to acknowledge Veronica Newton, Deirdre Oakley, Erin Ruel, Eric Wright, and Melissa Jackson-Wagner for extending their expertise and supporting this research to publication.


This research received no external funding.

Institutional Review Board Statement

IRB review and approval were waived for this research.

Informed Consent Statement

Not applicable.

Data Availability Statement

As Reddit is an open access platform, all data acquired for this study are available for public viewing.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Gay, T.M.; Farinu, O.T.O.; Issano Jackson, M. “From All Sides”: Black-Asian Reddit Communities Identify and Expand Experiences of the Multiracial Microaggression Taxonomy. Soc. Sci. 2022, 11, 168.

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Gay TM, Farinu OTO, Issano Jackson M. “From All Sides”: Black-Asian Reddit Communities Identify and Expand Experiences of the Multiracial Microaggression Taxonomy. Social Sciences. 2022; 11(4):168.

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Gay, Tyler McCoy, Oluyemi T. O. Farinu, and Monisha Issano Jackson. 2022. "“From All Sides”: Black-Asian Reddit Communities Identify and Expand Experiences of the Multiracial Microaggression Taxonomy" Social Sciences 11, no. 4: 168.

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