What are microaggressions?
Micro-aggression is the term used for brief and commonplace daily verbal indignities whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory or negative racial insults. The person offending is often unaware that they have engaged in demearning or rude comments. It is important that you make them visible to the offending person.
What makes microaggressions different from other rude or insensitive comments?
Microaggressions are more than just rude or insensitive comments. They are very specific remarks, questions or actions that has to do with a person’s race and often happen casually, frequently and often without any harm intended in everyday life. The one that happens to me often is - Why can’t you have a normal name? I will call you Sarah. I find this rude and degrading. My name is unusual, just ask me how to pronounce it - no offence will be taken. I know it may take a few goes to get it right)
How do microaggressions harm people?
Although they are seemingly small and innocent offences, they can take a psychological toll on the mental health of their recipients.
"It can be difficult to distinguish micro aggressions from typical rudeness"
Where are you from
You are a credit to your race unrepresented groups are not intelligent
You are so articulate
No, where are you actually from
Where were you born
You speak good English
Your name is hard to pronounce
You are a foreigner
People of colour/minority groups are not intelligent
You are a credit to your race
You are so articulate
People of colour or minority groups are not intelligent
When I look at you I don’t see colour
There is only one race – the human race
Denying a persons race
Why do you have to be so loud/animated
Don’t be so aggressive
Leave your cultural baggage outside
A Black person being mistaken for a service worker – shop assistant, security guard, waiter etc.
People of colour could not possibly occupy high-status positions.
You don’t belong
You are a lesser being
I'm not racist.I have a black friend
Saying you are not racist is denying the larger social context in which all of us are living
"The power of racial micro aggressions lies in their invisibility to the perpentrator
How Allies can fight Microaggression
Allies can help because you may be in an equal status relationship to the perpetrator.
· Become aware of your own biases and racism and confront those beliefs.
· Call out microaggressions when you see them.
. If someone tells you that a remark you made was harmful, be open to criticism, listen to why it was offensive, thank them and apologise.
. Educate employees, colleagues, friends and family about microaggressions
Allies be bold and speak out.