I only recently became aware of the word ‘Microaggression’ and my initial thought was “Jesus wept this looks like it should be two words what a JUMBLE” and then it fell into place JUST how poigniant and current this word is and how it can be used by so many people to describe their day to day situations.
The official definition of Microaggression is, ‘a verbal/nonverbal behaviour that communicates negative, hostile or derogatory messages to marginalised groups in society. These can be either intention or unintentional and are often unacknowledged by the people doing them’. Yes ladies a wordy definition however an important one. However just like all definitions from mainstream societally driven organisations such as the government/official or national statistics/dictionaries and accredited instructions, they can be a little formal and not ‘human proof’ as i like to call them.
A real life definition of Microaggression is best described by the minorities and societally oppressed groups who to deal with these slight digs all day everyday. The top Microaggression is staring. Staring at people is an act sometimes born out of curiosity, and other times out of ignorance. The person(s) being stared at have no idea about whether or not you’re staring at them for a reason, because you’re offended or upset by them, or if your eyes literally just appear to be ‘on’ them. This is non-important and doesn’t negate from the fact that you’re causing the person you’re staring at a reasonable amount of uncomfortablity.
Microaggressions are something that happen as a result of actions intentional or not, so Susan don’t come for me and say that you didn’t mean to because it doesn’t matter. You did it. Own it. Step outside of your body for a second and just THINK about how this could be perceived as rude or even offensive.
Of course all minorities in society experience microaggressions on a daily basis, however the most publicised and discussed at the moment include those involved with race, but also gender and sexuality. “I knew you were always gay”, “but if you’re gay then why do you not wear pink?” , “when are you having THE op”, “are you a drag queen?”. To most people these are just questions they ask without even thinking, however they’re completely inappropriate. I don’t really know and I don’t need to know how many times I have said this, and I wish to never say it again however:
‘If you have a question, ask. We will know if you genuinely care. Trust me.’
The next time you are with/see/come in contact with someone who you clearly are aware will be part of a group in society that well… goes through some shit. THINK. But also in itself, me saying “the next time you’re around someone” implies that you can easily tell from visual appearance someone’s race/gender/sexuality which in itself, is a Microaggression so it can be difficult, but just be aware. If you think you’ve said something wrong you probably have, so apologise and move on.
All people want is to know that they’re welcomed and that they have support. Be that person who makes them feel comfortable and included in the most non-patronising way. BASICALLY LADIES, JUST BE A DECENT HUMAN BEING.
Check out the artwork and article that inspired this post below: http://www.buzzfeed.com/hnigatu/19-lgbt-microaggressions-you-hear-on-a-daily-basis
Thank you ladies and if you have ANY questions, don’t hesitate to message me or look it up for yourself!