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13 Common ‘Microaggressions’ That Most People Don’t Know About | Opinion

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Microaggressions

Microaggressions refer to subtle and often unconscious acts of bias or discrimination directed towards marginalized groups. Here are examples of microaggressions that Black individuals may confront in their daily lives.

Cultural Appropriation

Cultural Appropriation: Appropriating aspects of Black culture without grasping their meaning or background, often simplifying these elements into trends or fashion statements.

Microinvalidations

Microinvalidations: Remarks that subtly exclude, invalidate, or negate the thoughts, emotions, or lived experiences of Black individuals, such as stating: “We all have the same opportunities,” which disregards structural injustices.

Cultural Values

Pathologizing Cultural Values or Communication Styles: Critiquing or disregarding the speech, self-expression, or cultural traditions of Black individuals as being “unprofessional” or “inappropriate.”

Lack of Representation

Lack of Representation: The underrepresentation of Black professionals in leadership positions within companies or the scarcity of Black characters in media and educational resources, which perpetuates stereotypes and restricts the availability of role models.

Stereotypical Representations

Stereotypical Representations: Portraying Black individuals in media and literature predominantly in clichéd roles (such as criminals, athletes, entertainers), which sustains limited and harmful perceptions of Black people.

Downplaying

Marginalization in Educational Curricula: The omission or downplaying of Black history, culture, and accomplishments in educational syllabi, resulting in the reduced prominence and significance of Black achievements and stories.

Overemphasis

Overemphasis on Differences: Highlighting or excessively focusing on racial distinctions in a manner that alienates or sensationalizes Black individuals, like touching a Black person’s hair without consent or making unwelcome remarks about their physical attributes.

Tokenism

Tokenism: Viewing Black individuals as spokespeople for their race in conversations about diversity, instead of recognizing them as individuals with distinct viewpoints and experiences.

Assuming Criminality

Assuming Criminality: Behaving in a suspicious or fearful manner around Black individuals without justification, like holding belongings tightly or choosing not to sit next to them on public transportation.

Racism

Invalidating Experiences of Racism: Saying things like “Are you sure it was about race?” or “I think you’re being too sensitive,” which disregard and diminish their encounters with prejudice.

Denying

Denying Individual Racism: Statements like “I don’t see color” or “I have Black friends, so I can’t be racist,” which overlook the structural aspect of racism and personal prejudices.

Assuming

Assuming Inferior Status: Questioning a Black professional in a work setting about being the new intern or assuming they hold a service position, regardless of their actual job responsibilities.

Underestimating

Second-guessing or Underestimating Abilities: Showing astonishment at the eloquence, intellect, or capability of a Black individual, as in “You speak so well” or “You’re so smart for a Black person,” suggesting diminished expectations due to racial stereotypes.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Ezmariah Mendez macias

    June 8, 2024 at 9:12 am

    Ezmariah Mendez macias

  2. Sundeep Kingcome

    June 20, 2024 at 11:33 am

    Sundeep Kingcome

  3. Isabelle Cuffia

    June 22, 2024 at 10:01 pm

    Isabelle Cuffia

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