Microaggressive Hierarchical Intersectionalities

Small Stories of Women of Color in Higher Education


  • Kathryn Young Metropolitan State University of Denver




campus climate, intersectionality, equity, diversity, cultural competence, higher education, race, gender, microaggressions, institutional development


This article uses methods from narrative analysis to consider how the macro-level experiences of racism and sexism appear in micro-level small stories about hierarchical microaggressive intersectionalities (HMI) in higher education. Small stories shared by university faculty and administrators reveal that microaggressions were simultaneously experienced along the lines of race, gender and role in the institution. Themes emerge that link deprofessionalization, invisibility, and fatigue to these small stories. On a nuanced level, the narratives in this paper demonstrate how broader societal notions of women’s and women of color’s roles in institutions translate into a negative campus climate for those who experience HMI.

Author Biography

Kathryn Young, Metropolitan State University of Denver

Dr. Kathryn Young is a Full Professor in Secondary Education at Metropolitan State University of Denver and served as the Faculty Fellow with the Office of Institutional Diversity at the university. Dr. Young earned a Bachelor of Arts in French Education from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, a Masters of Arts in Teaching from North Carolina Central University, and a Ph.D. in Educational Policy from University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Young has worked as an educator for 20+ years with the past 12 years in higher education.

Before becoming a professor she taught French for a year, then English, Math and Science in the Peace Corps, then went on to be a special educator specializing in working with students with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities. Her research interests include Disability Studies in Education, Inclusive Education, Cultural Competence, Diversity in Higher Education, and Microaggressions in Education and in the Workplace. Dr. Young is a trained facilitator of the Intercultural Developmental Inventory (IDI). She is also a leader in embedding Trauma Informed Practices (TIP) into higher education curricula. Dr. Young has 20+ published papers and numerous presentations across her research interests. She has presented numerous times on the topic of microaggressions and workplace bullying. Her newly published co-authored book with Dr. Myron Anderson is Fix Your Climate: A Practical Guide to Reducing Microaggressions, Microbullying, and Bullying in the Academic Workplace.


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