Microaggressions In Our Society
Alright Folks, we need to talk about microaggressions because they are everywhere!
Microaggressions are statements (verbal or non-verbal) that are common in everyday life.
They can come off as insensitive comments that are “well-intentioned” or unintentionally passive-aggressive, oblivious, or naive and harm a group of people.
Microaggressions can be based in gender, age, body size, race, culture/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religion, ability, etc. They communicate a negative message or meaning towards a particular group.
Examples of Microaggressions:
- Saying to a black man… “you speak really well” or “you are really smart” (playing into the stereotype that black people speak improperly or are not intelligent)
- A cis, het human saying to a queer person “you are too pretty to be gay.”
- A person without disabilities speaking louder and slower to someone in a wheelchair… The implication is that because this person has a disability, they must not be intelligent or able to hear.
- Saying to a larger-bodied individual “wow, you are in really good shape and can move quickly” because the assumption is large bodies are not “in shape.”
- A patient at the hospital, speaking to a female, and requesting a doctor when they are being attended to by a female doctor. (The patient often does not realize that she is a doctor because the assumption that women are not doctors)
We all make mistakes and fall into taking on messages from the dominant culture.
AND that does not give us the excuse to not examine our words and actions.
It also does not give us the right to check our own privilege and biases! At LCAT, we try to do this daily.
Microaggressions show each of us which messages we have internalized, and they provide information on what we need to examine and shift. It is not advised to use this as a style of communication.
It is not a strategy that creates connection, contribution, growth, and/or significance.
We need to be mindful of the messages we are receiving and giving.
It does not matter if you were “well-intentioned” if your impact was not consensual.
If you want to change, then you have to do “the work.”
When you have the knowledge, do you believe it is your responsibility to alter your behaviors and actions to reflect that knowledge?
Let us know in the comments!
If you know someone that would benefit from this information, feel free to share it.
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