Microaggression is a term used for brief and commonplace verbal, behavioral or environmental slights, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative attitudes toward stigmatized or culturally marginalized groups. To be clear, the “micro” in microaggression doesn’t mean that these acts can’t have big, life-changing impacts. They can, which is all the more reason to address them when you see them.
These everyday, subtle, intentional — and oftentimes unintentional — interactions or behaviors communicate some sort of bias toward historically marginalized groups. These are the thinly veiled, everyday instances of racism, homophobia, sexism (and more) that you see in the world. Sometimes it’s an insult, other times it’s an errant comment or gesture.
The difference between microaggressions and overt discrimination or macroaggressions, is that people who commit microagressions might not even be aware of them.
We’re all human beings who are prone to mistakes. But you need to be more aware of your biases and impact on people. Research has shown that microaggressions, although they’re seemingly small and sometimes innocent offenses, can take a real psychological toll on the mental health of their recipients. This toll can lead to anger and depression and can even lower work productivity and problem-solving abilities.
Which is why we’re so lucky to have Mickaela Lusignan with us to help us navigate the issue of microaggressions in the workplace – so we can all commit to working on these things in order to create a more harmonious society.