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 white 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.

Watch this short video about how microaggressions can make people feel and why its important to be aware of how they impact on others. 

Countering Microaggressions 
Microaggressions are the most common way racist and other forms of discrimination are expressed on a daily basis, both online and face to face, so tackling them is very important.

We have a duty to ensure that students who have protected characteristics are supported and welcomed into our academic community, fostering good relations between those who have certain protected characteristics and those who don’t share them.​ We should be alert to incidents where our welcome and good relationships are at risk. Microaggressions are the most common way queerphobia and racism are expressed on a daily basis, both online and face to face, so tackling them is very important.