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.” 

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.

Georgia is in the midst of a dramatic transformation in which minorities will become the majority in about 15 years. The AJC is covering that story in all of its manifestations -- digging deep for data that expose the trends and examining how our daily interactions affect one another.

» RE:Race: Guide to The Journal-Constitution's race coverage
» Interactive: Watch as Georgia transforms before your eyes
» Read: The new face of Cobb County
» Read: Is Atlanta ready to elect a white mayor in 2017?
» Watch: Black college students discuss "Dear White People"

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.