Let's Talk about Microaggressions

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Information about Let's Talk about Microaggressions

Published on February 21, 2014

Author: Aspiringhumanitarian

Source: slideshare.net


This presentation contains quotes that were procured by myself and a colleague from Microaggressions.com that I use to spark dialogue about microaggressions and themes of intent vs. impact as they relate to our interactions with others. Especially useful when unpacking issues related to the social climate on college campuses, in work environments, communities, etc. Good for social justice educators, advocates, social workers, counselors, and other helpers.


Professor: Where did you go to school to write like this? Me: In New Jersey. Professor: No, was it a private school? Me: No, is something wrong? Professor: Well you say “ask” versus “ax” and your writing is impeccable. Me: O‟kaaaaayyyyyyyy.

“Why are there so many party stores in the ghetto? Like do all the poor people like to celebrate they’re poor?” A friend, while driving near my work in a primarily central American immigrant community.

“Wow, I’m so autistic.” This boy said this after spilling a drink all over his new suede shoes.

“When are you going to have some kids? You know you‟re not getting any younger.” This is what a co-worker said to me after learning that someone we both know is expecting a child. What if I can‟t have children? What if I don‟t want children? Why don‟t people think about that before speaking?

Hey! HEY! Are you a guy or a girl? Teenage guys in Wisconsin, me wearing cargo shorts. Made me feel angry, threatened, afraid.

“I don‟t mean to be rude, but… WHAT are you? Your ethnic mixture is gorgeous.” White woman coming up to me in the public restroom. As a Chinese-Malay/Russian-Canadian multiracial woman, it made me feel fetishized.

Intent and IMPACT

“I always get asked to be an interpreter for patients who are not native English speakers, specifically for those of Asian background. Because I am of Asian background as well, there is this assumption that I speak every language in Asia or that there is only one language/country in Asia. Unbelievable.”

“If you don’t like it here then why don’t you just move somewhere else?” My White classmate suggested I leave the US because of all the social problems. I‟m Native American.

“I’m sure you can speak to this.” Teacher, referring to me in a class discussing how race influences therapy. I‟m the only Black person in the room.

“You don’t look disabled…” A high school classmate in diversity class said this to me in a discussion about disabilities. I have an emotional disability. It made me feel upset and shocked.

“Wouldn’t it make it so much easier if everyone celebrated Christmas?” My boss, complaining about company policy to have “holiday” activities instead of “Christmas” ones.

Intent vs. IMPACT

“You should apply for the assistant manager job. You‟re the most knowledgeable here, and besides, for a female you‟ve got a backbone.” Older male boss to me, a 21-year-old woman, while at work. As if by being a woman, I should be inherently weak and passive.

Working in issues of diversity at a large predominantly white university and standing up in front of a group of peers, academics and top administrators in response to a „diversity report.‟ I critiqued the lack of words like „racism‟, „oppression‟, etc., in the report. The President of the school responded that the report was written to not „offend or alienate anyone‟. Apparently, myself and thousands of other racialised and marginalized students do not count as „anyone.‟ At a predominantly white university. Made me feel worthless, tired, disappointed, weak.

“You look normal.” When I tell people that I have bipolar disorder. Makes me feel invalidated, irritated, tired.

“My professor asks me if something she is thinking about saying about another student is racist.” I am black (& apparently a spokesperson for black people), but I have nothing to do with this other student‟s situation with the department.

“How is it fair that some people can get scholarships for just being black? Where is my scholarship for being a hard-working person?” A white male to a group of mostly white people.

“That‟s ghetto!” Said often by mainly white middle-class students at my university in reference to anything viewed as “black,” “poor and black,” or “bad.”

“One of my coworkers is messing with another coworker by “accusing” her of being gay. She‟s furious with him. Meanwhile, I‟m sitting there, being gay.”

I‟m taking a film photography course at my college. In the dark room while developing film, these two other girls were in there as well. One girl turns to the other and says, “you look dark in this photo!” The other girl responds with, “Oh? Am I fabulously tan or hood dark?” I‟m a 22 year old, brown skinned African American girl. In school in Maryland. I felt out of place and isolated.

“Is your son in a “Hardship Program?” Mother of my son‟s friend, asking why my son was in a good school. I am an immigrant, and she could not even think of my son being a straight-A student & being accepted into a good school.

“Yes, I understand you‟re Asian Australian, but where are you really from?”

Intent ______________________________________ IMPACT

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