Thursday, April 24, 2014


How many of you have heard the word? How many of you have been the target of microagressions?

Microaressions are all those little digs that are thrown at us like misgendering us on purpose or using the wrong pronouns or using derogatory words or the numerous other terms that are used to demean us. They are not outright assaults bit are more like a slow torture designed to wear us away or as Dr. Derald W. Sue, a psychology professor at Columbia University described it; microassaults, microinsults and microinvalidations.

One of the blogs that I follow is the Connecticut Law Blog and earlier in the month he had a blog on microagression in the workplace, a topic we know all too well. In the blog he mentioned an article in New York Times,
Students See Many Slights as Racial ‘Microaggressions’
MARCH 21, 2014

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A tone-deaf inquiry into an Asian-American’s ethnic origin. Cringe-inducing praise for how articulate a black student is. An unwanted conversation about a Latino’s ability to speak English without an accent.

This is not exactly the language of traditional racism, but in an avalanche of blogs, student discourse, campus theater and academic papers, they all reflect the murky terrain of the social justice word du jour — microaggressions — used to describe the subtle ways that racial, ethnic, gender and other stereotypes can play out painfully in an increasingly diverse culture.
Or for us, “I almost thought you are a woman” or “You pass pretty well” they are the digs that are not worth the effort to fight back against and we never know if they are a disguised insult or a poorly thought out compliment.

At work does microagressions create a hostile environment? In a restaurant when the waitress misgendered you does that constitute discrimination?

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