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Experiences of Microaggression by Black Professionals in Social Services in Portugal

ABSTRACT The study explores the experiences of microaggression by Black professionals in the social service field in Portugal. In depth interviews were conducted with seven participants and the data was analyzed thematically. Critical race theory and the conceptual framework of “microaggression” as a specific form of implicit racism is used to elucidate the everyday experiences and consequences of microaggression. The themes under experiences of microaggression in the workplace indicate how Black professionals are perceived as the racial Other, the triad of microaggression from the supervisor, subordinates and coworkers, white fragility, pressure to assimilate, ethno-racial matching, gendered racism and the organizational culture that perpetuates microaggression. The results indicate how “lusotropical” narratives of Portuguese national identity as a “good” colonizer led to the denial of racism which perpetuates microaggression. The research also highlights the consequences of microaggression, particularly the intergenerational trauma associated with racism and shaped by colonial systems of cultural oppression. This study recommends engaging in radical social work action that challenges oppression at both an individual and structural level through ideological critique and collective political movements for anti oppressive social policy changes.

In-Group Bias and Inter-Group Dialogue in Canadian Multiculturalism

ABSTRACT African-Canadians continue to bear the brunt of marginality and stereotyping in Canada even when various mitigating studies and programs have been initiated by the government at federal, state, and municipal levels. These stereotypes continue to affect them in informal settings and state institutions when seeking employment, housing or when in the streets, malls, schools, etc. While social justice advocates, social workers, and policy-makers focus on “Black-White” dynamics because other “racialized minorities” are also marginalized (though not equally) in Canada, it is important to note that “non-White” Canadians also contribute to the spread of historical stereotypes of African-Canadians within Canadian multiculturalism as noted in the emphasis of the city of Toronto’s mitigating strategies for “anti-Black racism.” Using social group position theory (SGPT) and asset-based model (ABCD), this paper argues that interrogating social group biases beyond “Black-White” binarism to encourage inter-group dialogs is important in making sure that different multicultural communities understand one another through favorable, activities-mediated, inter-group relations as opposed to having multicultural relations mediated by third parties, or not mediated at all. We also argue that African-Canadians should focus on internal strengths and only use external help to augment community initiatives to change the extant negative image.