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CHAPTER ONE

The Manifestation of Racial, Gender, and Sexual-Orientation Microaggressions

Standing before his classroom, Charles Richardson, a White professor, asked for questions from the class. He had just finished a lecture on Greco-Roman contributions to the history of psychology. An African American male student raised his hand.

When called upon, the student spoke in a frustrated manner, noting that the history of psychology was “ethnocentric and Eurocentric” and that it left out the contributions of other societies and cultures. The student seemed to challenge the professor by noting that the contributions of African, Latin American, and Asian psychologies were never covered.

The professor responded, “Robert, I want you to calm down. We are studying American psychology in this course and we will eventually address how it has influ- enced and been adapted to Asian and other societies. I plan to also talk about how systems and theories of psychology contain universal applications.”

Rather than defusing the situation, however, Professor Richardson sensed that his response had raised the level of tension among several students of color. Another Black male student then stated, “Perhaps we are looking at this issue from different per- spectives or worldviews. Just as language affects how we define problems, maybe we all need to evaluate our assumptions and beliefs. Maybe we are ethnocentric. Maybe

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