Microaggressions and How to Deal with Them



The term “microaggression” was initially used to describe insults directed toward Black Americans and women. Over time, the term expanded its meaning to include ways of talking about issues related to discrimination, offense, and exclusion of any marginalized individual or group. Many microaggressions are subtle, but nonetheless can insult, exclude or harm the marginalized other. Most often, they are subtle to some, but obvious to others. Microaggressions are things that people say and do, although we cannot know the intent of the individual committing the microaggression. Ultimately, they exclude the other from the mainstream culture. Typical microaggressions send messages like, “you’re invisible,” “you’re inadequate,” “you don’t belong,” or “you’re a curiosity.” Some microaggressions are made by people with positive intentions; for example, a compliment (you’re so professional), or curiosity (so, where are you really from?).

Several individuals are commonly involved in microaggressions:

  • The subject or target of a microaggression. They may or may not be present when the microaggression takes place.
  • The initiator of the microaggression. They may verbally or nonverbally communicate a microaggression to a subject. Their intent may not be known.
  • The observer is anyone who overhears or sees the microaggression. If they speak up, they can become an ally. If they remain silent, they are a bystander.

This course will explore the different types of microaggressions, the messages they send as well as the context or situation in which they occur. Using roleplays and class feedback, we will then look at different “speak up” communication strategies that are available to observers as they seek to respond to microaggressions.

Registration deadline: Oct. 26

Name Session Dates Location Format Registration Dates
Microaggressions and How to Deal with Them10/28/21 - 11/11/21McKimmon CenterClassroom08/16/21 - 10/27/21  REGISTER NOW