by William Hutter, PsyD, LMFT
Perhaps you are wondering, ?What in the heck are microaggressions and why should I care about them?? Well let me tell you, you should care because they are hurtful and can cause serious harm. According to Derald Sue,
microaggressions are classified as brief everyday exchanges which send messages that are belittling in nature and target a specific group, such as but not limited to, persons of color, the LGBTIQA community, women, religious minorities, and persons with disabilities. Typically, the sender of these messages doesn?t mean harm, perhaps they are unaware that what they are saying could even be taken in such a way. That being said, when someone is the target of a microaggression, they feel the sting of the comment all too sharply.
One of the more common microaggressions heard on a regular basis is, ?Wow, you are so articulate,? said to someone who is non-white, most often to someone who is black or biracial. This is obviously based on the incorrect assumption that all people who are non-white are poorly educated/ or can?t speak ?proper? English. Another is when a woman is in a leadership role, is assertive, or takes control of any situation, and she is referred to as ?a bitch?. As if microaggressions weren?t bad enough, we also have microinsults to deal with. These differ from the microaggressions in that they can be either verbal or nonverbal communications that ever so subtly convey a sense of rudeness and
insensitivity that specifically demean someone?s racial heritage or other aspects of their identity. Here?s an example of what this looks like in action: An employee asks a colleague who is a person of color, ?Hey, how?d you get your job?? The implication here is that the person of color may have landed said position due to affirmative action. See, it?s subtle and at the same time leaves the person receiving the message to think,
Published on Apr 30, 2016
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