You are one of the few racial minorities working in your office. While you do not experience outright racial discrimination, you feel some of your coworkers’ comments and actions border on discrimination. Have you heard of microaggressions?
Forbes explores the concept. Determine whether you may experience racial discrimination and not realize it.
Microaggressions are behavioral, verbal and environmental degradation that display negative, hostile or belittling barbs to minorities. Rather than overt, macro forms of racism, microaggressions are brief encounters that happen during person-to-person interactions. If you experience mental health, self-esteem or job satisfaction struggles in the workplace but do not know why, it could be a result of enduring microaggressions.
Examples of microaggressions
How do you know a microaggression when you experience one? Examples include assuming an employee of color has a low-ranking position in the company, treating an employee of color as an assistant or secretary when that person is not an assistant or secretary, saying an employee of color is “very articulate” and confusing the names of employees of color who look nothing alike.
Forms of microaggressions
Microaggressions come in three forms: microinvalidations, microinsults and microassults. An example of a microinvalidation is asking an employee of color where she or he comes from, going beyond a specific state to mean a country of origin. Asking a person of color how she or he got a job with the company is an example of a microinsult. A microassault example is closely watching a minority employee to make sure she or he does not steal from the company or otherwise engage in criminal activity.