According to Google, microagressions are “indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group.” The biggest issue with microaggressions is that they are part of our subconscious. They happen very casually and frequently, and many are part of our daily lives. Microaggressions most commonly affect women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community. It can often be detrimental to the mental health of the recipients of microaggressions.
There are many common microaggressions that my friends and I have faced. One of my friends is an international student, and she often gets told that her English is good for an international student. This can be very hurtful and offensive. A typical microaggression that many in the LGBTQ community get is, “You don’t look gay,” or people simply assuming their sexuality based on the way they look and dress. One that I have gotten, along with many of my friends, is “You are pretty for an Indian.” Phrases like these are overlooked in many cases due to how frequently they are said. However, it is important to be aware of the microaggressions you might have made towards different groups of people, and educate yourself to prevent hurting others in the future.
One way to avoid microaggressions is through research. Researching common microaggressions allows you to see what you may have been saying to others that you didn’t even realize was offensive. Additionally, you can interact with people of a different race, ethnicity, or sexuality than you. Through having conversations with people of different backgrounds, you can better understand why something may be offensive to them. Lastly, if someone explains to you that you just said a microaggression, don’t be defensive. Instead, learn from your actions and do better next time.