Being in the science field, I’ve always had a hard time taking the term “microaggressions” seriously. I guess I was too busy dealing with straight up aggression lol. But let me say this, microaggressions are real, and they do matter. But, before recanting the times at which I experienced microaggressions, I did what any scientist would do, hopped on over to pubmed lol. The term microaggressions is largely described as subtle forms of bias and discrimination experienced by members of marginalized groups.
So, go with me if you will to this scenario: While eating lunch with your co-workers, one of them jokingly talks about a previous co-worker who was “lazy”, “always made excuses”, “always late”, and “smoked weed”, and then turns to you (the only black person in the room) and says, “and no offense, but she was black”. Now, I’ve never been the sharpest pencil in the desk, but usually, if the sentence starts with “no offense” then it’s probably offensive. Whether consciously or subconsciously, that co-worker was saying that being black is, at least, associated with (if not a causal reason for) her previous co-worker’s behavior.
How do we get aggressive with microagressions? My tactic is often to address the aggression immediately, (e.g., in the above scenario I would’ve likely said, “No offense taken, because those traits have nothing to do with being black”). In other words, I choose to confront microaggressions with macro-responses, immediately. Have you ever had to deal with microaggressions in the workplace? And if so, how did you deal with them? .
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