Microaggression — Ready a Response.

 Good article in the New York Times today about how to respond to micro aggressions. Here are some observations from that article:


  • For many of us, microaggressions are so commonplace that it seems impossible to tackle them one at a time. Psychologists often compare them to death by a thousand cuts.

  • The first step to addressing a microaggression is to recognize that one has occurred and dissect what message it may be sending.

  • Discrimination — no matter how subtle — has consequences.

  • Even once you have decided that you can respond to a microaggression, knowing what to say or how to behave can be nerve-racking.

  • While your response will vary by situation, context and relationship, one recommendation is to memorize one tactic from a list of prepared statements. For example, ask for more clarification.  

  • Learning to draw boundaries and find support among allies is one of the most important steps in dealing with microaggressions.

My suggestion — In confronting microaggressions,remember it is the aggressor that has the problem, not you. Be prepared with a response beforehand. Unfortunately, some (many?) micro aggressors are serial aggressors. Just be prepared when you meet this person again. It’s not going to change, unfortunately.


“Microaggressions: Death by a Thousand Cuts.” New York Times (June 15, 2020).