11 Comments

Speak Up! Friday Quotes (12)

2011-10-microaggressions_tcm7-124342

MICROAGGRESSIONS

  • You’re pretty for a black girl.

  • You don’t look Jewish.

  • Can you see? You know, because of your Asian eyes.

  • You throw/scream like a girl.

  • How did you get that job?

  • How did you get into that school?

  • How did you get someone like that to date you?

  • You sound white.

  • I can’t tell you people apart. You all look the same.

  • What’s up, Bin Laden?

  • Don’t try to Jew me down.

  • What’s up, Hitler?

  • So . . . what are you?

  • Where are you from? (Assuming they’re not from around “here”; another way to ask this is “Have you always lived in [insert your location]?”)

  • What do you guys speak in China? Asian?

  • You mean to tell me you don’t speak Spanish? Wow.

  • I’m amazed at how well you speak English / Mandarin / Spanish / Portuguese / Russian / French / Japanese / German / Korean / etc.

  • You can’t read Japanese? But you’re Japanese.

  • Go Redskins!

~*~

These are examples of everyday

microaggressions — brief,

common statements or actions

that can make another person

feel insulted, snubbed, “less

than,” excluded, annoyed, or

put down, whether that

statement or action was done

intentionally or unintentionally.

~*~

Microaggressions “communicate

hostile, derogatory, or negative

messages to target persons

based solely upon their

marginalized group membership.”

~*~

Have you dished out microaggressions before?

Or been on the receiving end of them?

I have to both. How do you handle it?

~*~

Let’s see how your strategies

compare with Anna Giraldo Kerr’s

five tips (Huffington Post article)

~*~

1. Remain calm and take a deep breath. Find a way to pause from assuming or reacting right away. If it is the first time and the incident is new, you could ask the person to repeat what he said or did. Responding with anger will only work against you.

2. Give the benefit of the doubt. Taking extreme stances either as a victim or a “tough” person will ultimately hurt you. Minority groups do experience the bulk of microaggressions. And although who is perceived as a minority will change with each individual situation, whoever is in the minority at the time could become hyper-vigilant. By seeing ourselves as victims we are, in a way, helping the aggressor disempower us. And by toughing it out, we create the illusion of strength without having processed the effects of the microaggression properly. Start by asking for clarification — after you have taken a breath — and take note of the response. You can take time to think it over and decide how to respond later.

3. Focus on the event, not the person. By directing the conversation to the behavior, event, or comment you will decrease the likelihood of defensiveness. Any attempts to handle microaggressions by making the situation about you — as much as it is about how you are treated — and them guarantees a power struggle that will tilt to favor those in the majority. And if you are complaining about someone microaggressing you, it means you are in the minority.

4. Be clear about the different elements of a microaggression. Who said/did what? Who was in the room? What is the relationship between you and the sender? Was this a first time or is this an ongoing issue? Having a clear understanding of the factors that surrounded the microaggression helps evaluate next steps strategically rather than emotionally.

5. Develop your own way to handle microaggressions. Thinking there is a cookie-cutter approach will sabotage your efforts from the beginning. Do follow suggested steps (like those in this post and others) and customize them to your own situation. Microaggressions and micro inequities that you experience might appear to be similar to what other women are experiencing, but the context that surrounds the event and effects created are not the same. The comment, “you are so smart” is a common phrase heard by many women and other minorities and shows up in different ways.

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11 comments on “Speak Up! Friday Quotes (12)

  1. I learned at a very early age growing up with actual racism that I was able to let these types of comment not bother me. Yes I know it may be a little or even a lot condescending when I tell someone that I do not care if they get offended by what another person says to them.
    I also do not actually agree with the whole words hurt just as bad as anything else does. Yes they cut and scar but growing up with actual racism leaves a bigger mark. To big to actually care about another persons ignorance. That is how I deal with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is interesting. Just so I can get a clearer picture, what do you mean by “actual racism”?

      Liked by 1 person

      • On some of my applications for university the interviewers putting a small mark on the upper right of the form, a way to signify that I was not white.
        My math teacher automatically putting me in remedial studies in high school.
        Being denied certain things for growing up brown during the migrant worker Cesar Chavez years in California.

        Liked by 1 person

      • For what it’s worth, I’m sorry you experienced that. No matter the form of discrimination (intended, unintended, individual, institutional, verbal, behavioral, environmental), we are hitting a series of points and breaking others down.

        Like

      • And, to me, it’s great when we rise above this, shake it off, or don’t take it to heart — but that doesn’t make the act of discrimination (whatever act that is) any less wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree with you so much on the fact that wrong is wrong and discrimination is wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. But I do throw like a girl…at least from my generation’s point of view. Athletes of today are painting a very different picture…at long last. We’ve come a long way on the “smart for a girl” attitude…I fought that one a lot in the 1960’s. I would smile and just start using big words. Interesting post. Van

    Liked by 1 person

    • Care to share how you fought that “smart for a girl” attitude in the 1960s? (Or should I ask “Do you feel like typing out some examples of how you fought it?” ^_^ )

      Liked by 1 person

      • First job was with 30 male engineers. The only other woman was a pretty face. (Receptionist). I commanded respect, in the way I dressed, spoke and interacted. They flirted at first, then accepted me as a professional. I did flaunt my vocabulary, and made it clear I took my job seriously. They were the best friends of my twenties. ☺ Van

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Lol… For a long time when I was in training – people would ‘compliment’ me on how well I spoke English. I found it amusing, being born and ‘bred’ in the UK it was the only language I spoke. I was never particularly bothered by this. However I was somehow perturbed when people would express extreme surprise when I told them I was Nigerian and not from Jamaica. They could never tell me why they did not think I was Nigerian. I could never really understand why I was upset they did not think I was Nigerian, especially given that I have only been there twice and I do not speak Yoruba! I could never really understand why I was upset that they thought I was from Jamaica. I suppose deep down I do know the answers. A product of societal and family conditioning. Now of course these things do not bother me at all. I suppose with time I have realised that what other people say is a product of their own prejudices, experience and ignorance. The same would apply to me if I were to say similar things to other people. The thing is to stand true and tall.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. […] (Speak Up! Friday Quotes) where I bring up topics that I believe need to be discussed (e.g., microaggressions — wanting to be happy — truth being stranger than fiction — sexism and violence against […]

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