What is a microaggression?

Microaggressions are brief and common daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, with or without awareness, that communicate hostility, negative slights and insults rooted in bias. Persons responsible for microaggressions are often unaware that they engage in such communications when they interact with members of social groups (e.g. women, lesbians, transgender people, Christians, Muslims, Black, Asian, multi-racial, or political affiliation).

Persons subjected to microaggressions often experience a negative impact on academic or work performance and mental-emotional well being. Often the person has experienced similar kinds of bias multiple times in their lifetime or within a week, and it can be the 10th time of experiencing a microaggression that can result in an outburst of frustration and exhaustion of being intentionally or unintentionally stereotyped.

Other effects

Victim(s) can experience a number of emotional, psychological, and personal consequences, including:?

  • Feeling vulnerable, powerless, helpless, fearful, unwelcome
  • Psychological distress, including stress, anxiety, anger
  • Interference with an individual's ability to work, learn, or maintain health relationships
  • Poor academic performance
  • A desire to leave or withdraw from the community and/or to decrease participation in social activities and programs
  • A diminished sense of self-worth, for both the victim and the victim's group, for an extended period of time
  • Feeling the need to retaliate against a member of the group represented by the perpetrator
  • Mistrust between and among individuals and/or groups leading to a diminished sense of community