In a diverse, sensitive culture, microaggressions are everyday indignities

To many people, the concept of “microaggressions” was made up by a culture obsessed with political correctness and victimhood. 

» Tell us a story about your experience of race 

But not to mainstream psychologists. The experts say microaggressions aren’t just real but harmful. Microaggressions are the brief, commonplace indignities that many people suffer daily — often at the hands of others who may not even be aware they’re giving offense. 

In researching an article on why the question “Where are you from?” offends certain people, the AJC revisited the phenomenon of microaggressions. Here are a few examples of them. For more, see our article on microaggressions

You say: “You speak good English.” 

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You mean: “You are a foreigner.” 
You say: “You are a credit to your race.” 

You mean: “People of color are generally not as intelligent as white people.” 

You say: “When I look at you, I don’t see color.” 

You are: Denying a person of color’s racial or ethnic experiences. 

You say: “I’m not racist. I have several black friends.” 

You mean: “I am immune to racism because I have friends of color.”

Source: “Racial microaggressions in everyday life,” American Psychologist, by Derald Wing Sue and six others.


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