ChoiceWords Blog

Your urgent thoughts, urging action

Do Microaggressions Bring Out Your Inner ‘Dear White People’ Voice? Me Too.

Posted by

October 26, 2017

Dear White people, I don’t have an attitude, this is just my face.

Last summer I worked for a deli. Making sandwiches was fun, and there were a lot of Indian people that worked and lived in the neighborhood so the culture was cool to watch and learn from. One day I walked past the assistant manager, a white woman, speaking to another worker about the other employees: “I wish they’d just speak English!” It stopped me in my tracks! I was really disappointed that she thought that way. I realized although there was no excuse for her words, she probably didn’t think she was wrong for saying it. Microaggressions are dangerous because they force a prejudice thought onto another person. It’s like chipping away at ice, one knick at a time.

What is a Microaggression?

Something you or someone else does subtly or unintentionally to stereotype a group of marginalized folks. Fun fact: You do not have to be white to utter a Microaggression. You can be a person of color or a part of the marginalized community. Examples include but are not limited to:

“This summer I’ll be as dark as you!” said to a person of color with a darker complexion.

“It’s someone’s time of the month” said to someone that has a menstrual cycle, or identifies as a woman.

Why is it wrong?

You’re subconsciously placing a characteristic on a group of people, or making fun of their features without thinking. In my experience, microaggressions can come from people who don’t have much experience in diverse communities. I have a friend whose roommate says things like this. Once my friend (who is black) was discussing her brother coming over, and her roommate said “As long as he doesn’t steal, it’s fine with me!”

How do you combat it? 3 ways to have them shook.

1.If you trust the person you’re talking to and you value their relationship, speak to them directly about what they said and how it affects you. Communication is key!

2.This is good if you’re in a work environment and you don’t want to cause trouble at the office. Just start talking about something else or deter them from the topic. Stay calm, and reward yourself with some self care when you get home.

3.Clap Back! Maybe not literally, but ask them to back up their statement, or ask them a follow up question to make them think about what they said. For example:

Problematic person: “I wish they just spoke English!”

You: Why is that though?

Problematic person: * Shook*

Other examples of Microaggression:

  1. “You take pills for that?” First of all, it’s none of your business.
  2. “I wish I had your complexion.” First of all you’re white.
  3. “You’re naturally emotional though.” First of all, don’t assume their emotions because they identify as a woman.
  4. “Is that your real hair?” First of all, it’s none of your business.

What other Microaggressions have you heard? Comment below!

 

 

 

 

 

All Giphs are from https://giphy.com/