Racial Microaggressions

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Microaggressions are brief instances–intentional or unintentional–of hostile, negative, or derogatory actions towards members of marginalized groups. These actions may be verbal, behavioral, or environmental.

In her piece Racial Microaggressions, Kiyun Kim asked students at Fordham University to write down some of the microaggressions they have faced.

Kiyun argues that the “slow accumulation" of racial microagressions over the course of a lifetime is "in part what defines a marginalized experience, making explanation and communication with someone who does not share this identity particularly difficult." "Social others," she continues, "are microaggressed hourly, daily, weekly, monthly.”

Below are some of the microaggressions shared with Kiyun:

A black man holding a paper that says "You don't act like a normal black person ya' know?"

  • "You don't act like a normal black person, you know?”

Asian woman holding a paper that says "This girl sitting next to me moves, to sit closer to someone she's talking to, and this white guy whispers loudly that she moved because I... "smell like rice"

  • "This girl sitting next to me moves, to sit closer to someone she's talking to, and this white guy whispers loudly that she moved because I 'smell like rice'"

Latina woman with paper that says "Just because I'm Mexican that doesn't mean I should be the automatic 1st choice for the role of Dora the Explorer in the high school skit"

  • "Just because I'm Mexican that doesn't mean I should be the automatic 1st choice for the role of Dora the Explorer in the high school skit."

Dark skinned woman with paper that says "You're really pretty... for a dark skin girl"

  • "You're really pretty... for a dark skin girl"

Dark skinned woman with paper that says "When people think it's weird that I listen to Carrie Underwood"

  • "When people think it's weird that I listen to Carrie Underwood"

Black person with paper that says "'So what does your hair look like today?' She said as she pulled off my hat without my permission"

  • "'So what does your hair look like today?' She said as she pulled off my hat without my permission"

Latino man with paper that says "When I gave a speech about racism, the emcee introduced me as 'Jaime Garcia.' My name is Jaime Rodriguez; not all Latinos have the last name Garcia."

  • "When I gave a speech about racism, the emcee introduced me as 'Jaime Garcia.' My name is Jaime Rodriguez; not all Latinos have the last name Garcia."

Asian woman with paper that says "No, where are you really from?"

  • "No, where are you really from?"

Microaggressions range from devastating to annoying, subtle to egregious. They are shockingly common, and toxic to our culture. Read on to learn more about microaggressions and how to prevent them.

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