MICROAGGRESSIONS

A Common Form Of Prejudice

 

Microaggressions are everyday occurrences of verbal or behavioral insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate a negative or derogatory racial or religious insult that causes a harmful and cumulative psychological impact on the targeted individual or group.  There are three forms of microaggressions: the microassault – which is a blatant verbal or nonverbal attack on an individual or group with the intention of conveying a discriminatory, prejudicial, and biased point of view; the microinsult – which is an unintentional behavior or comment which conveys a demeaning lack of sensitivity or rudeness toward a person’s identity, their racial heritage, their gender identity, their religious affiliations or beliefs, their socioeconomic status, or their sexual orientation; and the microinvalidation – which are unintentional verbal comments are behaviors whose intention is to negate, dismiss, or exclude the feelings or experiences or thoughts of an individual or a targeted group.


Microaggressions occur with such frequency that they have become a part of the American lexicon.  Some examples of microaggressions are: assuming people who speak with an accent are not American, assuming people of a certain ethnicity have a higher level of intelligence, telling a person of color that color does not matter, assuming someone is a criminal based upon how they look, using sexist or heterosexist language, denying the discrimination that someone has experienced, assuming that white privilege and westernized culture are the only viable and successful cultures, assuming racial ethnic stereotyping, objectifying men and women as sexual objects, assuming someone is wrong or abnormal because of their sexual orientation, denying someone’s personal identity, or assuming that your religion is the only correct one.