A (micro)aggression is an indirect, sometimes subtle put-down toward a person from a marginalized community, often wrapped up in what pretends to be a compliment. (Micro)aggressions can be an everyday occurrence for many Black, Asian, and racially minoritised people, and the cumulative effect is massive, like millions of small pinpricks that, after a while, are very painful.
Some examples of (micro)aggressions include:
- “You’re so articulate”
- “You speak good English”
- “You don’t sound Black”
- Touching or commenting how amazing a Black person’s hair is, when it is just natural hair
- “Is that your real hair?”
- "Sorry, wrong person, you look so similar”
- Getting a name wrong, even when told how to pronounce it.
- “Where are you (actually) from?”
- “You are a credit to your race”
- Colourblindness' - “There is only one race, the human race”, “Melting Pot”
- “I am not a racist. I have Black friends”
- “Everyone can succeed at University, if they work hard”
- Asking a Black person in a meeting why they have to be so loud, or to calm down
- “I didn’t realise you were the manager”
- Environmental microaggressions – e.g. naming all buildings after while cis men.
Microaggressions also are targeted at LGBTQI+ people, disabled people, women, young and old people, people of faith, but they are most common when directed at Black people.
Microaggressions are a form of racism and if the same person continues using them, ask them to stop/ and/or report them.