Original post on @saic.maffairs posted 12/13/2020.
Microaggressions are subtle comments & actions that are often well-intentioned but are harmful in nature, reveal underlying biases, and reinforce stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. (See Lesson: Stereotype, Prejudice, and Discimination).
These recurring, commonplace comments or actions are anything but small. The impact of a comment matters far more than its intention - no matter how good. Microaggressions - both intentional and unintentional - can take the form of a verbal comment, insult, joke, compliment, question, or a nonverbal action, and are packed with potent ramifications that cause harm, accumulates, and degrades a person with every instance. The microaggression may be brief, but their effects are lasting.1
Lasting effects may include: Feeling alienated, invalidated, insulted, dismissed. Microaggressions can determine how safe someone feels, how seen and valued they are, how comfortable a room can be... One microaggression is harmful, but imagine being on the receiving end of microaggressions again and again and again everyday.2
Microaggressions may be difficult to recognize at first due to their overabundance, but become familiar with any of their three forms and you’ll recognize how prevalent they are.
“Microaggressions can be directed at any socially devalued group in society. Any group that is marginalized can be the subject of microaggressions. The dynamics that define them are the same but the themes are different.” - Derald Wing Sue
What are some examples of microaggressions you’re familiar with?
Focus on one example… What about the comment was harmful?
How did the microaggression affect the person receiving them?
What is the difference between the intention of the comment, and the impact?
What makes microaggressions so harmful, is its prevalence in everyday interactions. Disrupt microaggressions when they happen. It’s up to us to make its effects visible.
Name microaggressions when they happen.
Hold others and yourself accountable for the things you say, do, and echo.
Apologize when it happens, move forward, stay informed, and commit to doing better.