In the United States, acts of prejudice occur in many situations and spaces. Scholars and researchers hypothesize that these acts are often due to the racism that permeates our country. When seemingly racist acts occur, they are sometimes unreported, misunderstood or simply not addressed. As a Black woman falsely accused of theft, I endured assumptions made about me, and I made assumptions about my accuser. We are often left to speculate as to what fuels acts of racism, whether in the form of microaggressions or overt acts. As we try to assign reasons for others’ behaviors, we must also inspect the conditioning of our own thinking. In this study, I utilize both Critical Race Theory and Attribution theory while employing an autoethnographical approach to dissect an unexpected racial encounter. Racism is a palpable subject, and in re-telling the event, I uncover assumptions, locate structured biases and find an empowering voice that allows my perceived racist encounter to be addressed.


Autoethnography, Critical Race Theory, Attribution Theory, Racist Encounter

Author Bio(s)

Felicia Stewart is Professor of Communication and Chair of the Division of Social and Cultural Studies at Morehouse College. Dr. Stewart received her B.A. in Legal Communication and Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Intercultural Communication from Howard University in Washington, D.C. A licensed attorney, Dr. Stewart received her J.D. from Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. Please direct correspondence to felicia.stewart@morehouse.edu.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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