Microaggressions Toolkit

Microaggressions Toolkit

What are Microaggressions?

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines microaggression as:
“A comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalised group (such as a racial minority)”.

The American National Institutes for Health states:
“Microaggressions are everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults – whether intentional or unintentional – that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to individuals based solely upon their marginalised group membership. Microaggressions repeat or affirm stereotypes about a minority group, and they tend to minimize the existence of discrimination or bias, intentional or not”.

There are three types of microaggressions:
  • Microinsults (usually unconscious, and convey rudeness/insensitivity)
  • Microassaults (often conscious, and are deliberately and derogatory)
  • Microinvalidations (usually unconscious, and exclude the thoughts, feelings, or experiences of a minority group).

The Diverse Educators’ Microaggressions Toolkit

  • What is meant by the term microaggressions?
  • What are my preconceptions about microaggressions and who they affect?
  • What are the differences between types of microaggressions?
  • Why do we need to be aware of what microaggressions are and who they affect?
  • Why is it important for microaggressions to be called out and challenged by everyone, not just those directly affected?

How to Counter Microaggressions

Dealing with Microaggressions can be time consuming and tiring if they are continually encountered. Microaggressions by their very nature may not be intentionally perpetrated. Therefore, allowing them to go unchallenged may lead to unintended negative learning and contribute to many feeling unwelcomed. For example, deciding where a person lives or works based on their appearance.

Some things we can all commit to doing as allies for others:
  • Challenge the action or words - let the individual know how you feel or are impacted by their actions or words.
  • Record the occurrences - a pattern of behaviour can be established by tracking over a period of time. This becomes important if you need to take things further, later down the line.
  • Take it to management - let someone in authority know what is occurring or take it to your Trade Union if you are a member.

Articles

Gender stereotypes – primary schools urged to tackle issue

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Microaggressions

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Tackling racial harassment in universities

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When and How to Respond to Microaggressions

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Where are all the female headteachers?

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Women in educational leadership – what needs to change

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Blogs

Andrew Limbong - Microaggressions are a big deal: How to talk them out and when to walk away

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Girlguiding - Microaggressions and how can we avoid them?

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Mindful Equity - Not an angry Black girl

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Mindful Equity - Rising above

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Rebekah Geinapp – Nurturing Antiracist Kids

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UMSL - Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Blog

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Books

Andrews, Kehinde. The New Age of Empire: How Racism and Colonialism Still Rule the World

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Cousins, Susan and Diamond, Barry. Making Sense of Microaggressions

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Eddo-Lodge, Reni. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race

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Gibson, Joseph et al. Teaching With Trauma in Mind

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Kara, Bennie. A Little Guide for Teachers: Diversity in Schools

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Kendi, Ibram. How To Be an Antiracist

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Olusoga, David. Black and British: A short, essential history

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Reid, Nova. Good Ally

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Sue, Derald and Spanierman, Lisa. Microaggressions in Everyday Life

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Wilson, Hannah and Kara, Bennie. Diverse Educators

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Podcasts

Cornell University / Inclusive Excellence - Let’s Talk Microaggressions

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Cultural Humility Podcast - Racial Microaggressions and Political Correctness

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Every Woman - Microaggressions: tackling unconscious bias in an open working environment

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Life Kit - Microaggressions are a big deal: How to talk them out and when to walk away

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NPR (Non Profit Radio) - Microaggressions are a big deal

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Resources

Commission on Race and Ethinic Disparities

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Diversity in the Classroom, UCLA Diversity & Faculty Development, 2014

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Equality Human Rights

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Everyday Sexism

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Microaggressions, Bristol University

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Microaggressions Explained

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Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life

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Students Of Colour Share Their Experiences Of Oxford University

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Tackling racial harassment: Universities challenged

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Women in the Workplace 2021

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Videos

Badlands - All the Little Things

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Chimanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk: The danger of a single story

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Laura Bates’ TED talk Everyday sexism

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Learn to Spot — and Stop — Racial Microaggressions in Schools

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Same Difference - How microaggressions are like mosquito bites

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Tiffany Alvoid’s TEDx Talk: Eliminating Microaggressions: The Next Level of Inclusion

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Derald Wing Sue Lecture: Microaggressions in Academia | The New School

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