Microaggressions

Our world is in unrest with conflict. On a smaller scale, there is conflict in families, between authority and subordinate, among peers and co-workers and during daily communication in the community ie. bank, grocery store, while driving. We wanted to help out with tools to use daily!

Steps to Manage Conflict:

  • Don’t Avoid

  • Time the conversation with hard evidence without delay

  • Establish boundaries with performance expectations

  • Respect differences

  • Confront the tension

What are microaggressions?

Microaggression is a term used for brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative prejudicial slights and insults toward any group, particularly culturally marginalized groups.

o Remarks

o Questions

o Actions

Towards group subject to stereotypes & discrimination occurring:

o Frequently

o Without harm intended

o In everyday life

Examples of microaggressions & ways to respond:

Implicit Biases we are not even aware of, that can creep into our minds and affect our actions. They are thoughts about people you didn’t know you had. Examples are:

  • attitudes,

  • stereotypes

  • assumptions

Microaggressions can occur in person & during online interactions such as:

Invading Space

  • Touch a colleague w/o consent

  • Leaves things on colleagues’ desk

  • Send distracting chat messages

Dominating conversations

  • Getting Interrupted

  • Condescending

  • Powersplaining

  • Interrupt another on a topic know nothing about, assuming they know a lot

Being Underestimated

  • Ignored

  • Given supportive not lead roles

  • Assumed to have less power

Before we advocate, consider the following:

Job Security including safety & confidence in the relationship you have with management. Will the person be receptive to feedback?

Location including finding space to converse preparing with key points.

How to Disrupt Microaggressions:

  • Appreciative Inquiry when you feel offended/judged

  • “Say more about that”

  • Gives more information to gain awareness of statement’s negative impact

Avoid starting questions with “Why” — it leaves people feeling defensive. Instead try “Tell me more about that.”

  • Paraphrase & Reflect when you hear a comment that sounds intolerant

  • “So you feel this way because…..”

  • Communicating content & feeling in our own words reduces defensiveness

  • Reframe when someone is being cut off speaking.

  • “You bring up a great point. I didn’t hear all of it, can you repeat that?”

  • Redirect & Reframe the conversation

  • Use “I” Statements

  • “I felt hurt when you said ….

Use the pronouns “we” or “us” — it opens the conversation up to the entire team.

  • Focus attention on yourself

  • Avoid blame

  • Reduce defensiveness

  • Use Preference Statements

  • “I don’t think that was funny, I would like you to stop.”

  • Share your preferences, rather than demanding change to help move the person to change their behavior

KEY PHRASES:

o I’m going to interject here…

o What do you mean by that is ….

o Let me pause you there…

o Say more about that…

o So, it sounds like you’re saying…

o Let’s try reframing this…

Whether we are at home, work, school or a recreational activity we encounter people. Something we say may spark a response we did not anticipate. Have you ever said something with implicit bias not realizing consciously that you had a bias? I did during a conversation with a professional in the community, and had no idea how offended he was until he posted about my comment on Facebook that evening. It was ugly. The responses of other professionals in his friend circle was one of mocking me. Honestly, I had no intention of harming anyone. We all have bias, and being aware is key. My purpose in writing this today is to say this is human to have bias, especially implicit bias. I will watch what I say to others in casual conversations. Have you experienced saying something that you really didn’t mean consciously, only to realize later it was related to an unconscious bias? I would enjoy an appreciative inquiry with you. Reach out to let me know I am not the only one:) Contact me at alexia@theresilientpathway.com!

Adapted from Kenney, G. (2014). Interrupting Microaggressions, College of the Holy Cross, Diversity Leadership & Education. Accessed on-line, October 2014. Kraybill, R. (2008). “Cooperation Skills,” in Armster, M. and Amstutz, L., (Eds.), Conflict Transformation and Restorative Justice Manual, 5 th Edition, pp. 116–117. LeBaron, M. (2008). “The Open Question,” in Armster, M. and Amstutz, L., (Eds.), Conflict Transformation and Restorative Justice Manual, 5 th Edition, pp. 123–124. Peavey, F. (2003). “Strategic Questions as a Tool for Rebellion,” in Brady, M., (Ed.), The Wisdom of Listening, Boston: Wisdom Publ., pp.