Students of color continue to experience racism within institutions of higher education across the United States. These experiences often include racial microaggressions, which are evolved forms of racism that are subtle, difficult to detect, and harmful. Racial microaggressions have been found to be associated with several consequences including mental health, emotional, and physical problems (Dahlia & Lieberman, 2010; Connolly, 2011; Cheng, Tran, Miyake, & Kim, 2017). Furthermore, studies have also alluded to the potential relationship between racial microaggressions and the dimensions of alienation for student populations of color (Fissori, 2010; James, 1988; Lambert, Herman, Bynum, & Ialongo, 2009; Sauceda, 2010; Yosso, Smith, & Ceja, 2009). This study explored the relationship between racial microaggressions as measured by the Racial and Ethnic Microaggression Scale (REMS; Nadal, 2013) and alienation as measured by the University Alienation Scale (UAS; Burbach, 1972) among Hmong American students (N = 97) in higher education. This study also examined whether these experiences are different based on gender. The results revealed that five of the six types of racial microaggressions, namely Exoticization and Assumptions of Similarity, Micro-Invalidations, Assumptions of Inferiority, Second-Class Citizen and Assumptions of Criminality, and Workplace and School Microaggressions were significantly related to two of the three dimensions of alienation, namely Powerlessness and Meaninglessness. Meanwhile, the findings indicated that there was no significant difference in these experiences based on gender. These findings suggest a need for more support for Hmong American students across the higher education setting, mandatory involvement in diversity and inclusion work for all campus community members, and the development of a response to racial microaggressions.


Jacqueline Lewis

Committee Member

Diane Coursol

Committee Member

John Seymour

Committee Member

Kerry Diekmann

Date of Degree




Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Counseling and Student Personnel





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