Let me paint a picture for you. Let’s say a black woman is giving a talk on something she is an expert in. She has spent hundreds of hours perfecting her knowledge in this area, thus making her qualified to talk about this particular subject. After the talk, a white woman approaches her and says, “Wow, you sounded really eloquent.” The speaker thanks her for the compliment but walks away with the feeling of her stomach sinking. She’s not really sure why. She is later given an award for her talk and she begins to tear up a bit. A man remarks, “Women are so emotional.” She quickly goes to the bathroom to dry her tears. A woman sees her in the bathroom and says, “I loved your talk. Your people must be so proud.”
I imagine you might have felt the same way I did while writing this: blood boiling, stomach dropping, and body cringing.These are examples of microaggressions. It is when someone says or does something that is based in discriminatory, prejudicial, and/or derogatory ideology.
A microaggression can be intentional or unintentional.
By taking small steps, we can make big changes. Let’s all work together to make the world a better place.
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Laura is a social worker, activist, and cat enthusiast. She enjoys sharing her knowledge of psychology and sociology to help others make the world a better place.
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