What are Microaggressions?
According to Columbia University Professor Derald Wing Sue, microaggressions "are the everyday slights, indignities, put downs and insults that minorities experience in their day to day interactions with well-intentioned individuals who are unaware that they have engaged in an offensive act or made an offensive statement."
These comments are normally related to a person’s race, gender, sexual orientation or disability status, and may seem like a compliment to the person speaking them, e.g., “Your English is so good!” In aggregate, comments like this contribute to a stressful and unpleasant environment for members of under-represented groups.
For examples of common microaggressions, or how to respond in different situations—when someone points out that you have made a microaggression, if you are the recipient of a microaggression, or when you witness a microaggression—here are some thoughtful articles:
- 14 Things People Think are Fine to Say at Work—but Are Actually Racist, Sexist, or Offensive - Business Insider
- The Importance of Understanding Microaggressions at Work - Culture Amp Blog
- 4 Workplace Microaggressions that Can Kill Your Confidence—and What To Do About Them - CNBC
- How To Shut Down Microaggressions at Work - Fast Company