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Sunday, January 29 2012 @ 07:32 PM GMT+4
Contributed by: SK-B

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Microaggression is the idea that specific interactions between those of different races, cultures, or genders can be interpreted as non-physical aggression. The term was first coined by American psychiatrist Chester M. Pierce[1] and described as, "brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of other races."

Microagression usually involves demeaning implications and other subtle insults against minorities, and may be perpetuated against those due to gender, sexual orientation, and ability status.[2][3][4] According to Pierce, “the chief vehicle for proracist behaviors are microaggressions. These are subtle, stunning, often automatic, and nonverbal exchanges which are ‘put-downs’ of blacks by offenders”.[5] Microaggressions may also play a role in unfairness in the legal system as they can influence the decisions of juries.[6]




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  • Microaggression | 11 comments | Create New Account
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    "Ordinary" daily microaggressions - examples
    Authored by: SK-B on Monday, January 30 2012 @ 01:15 AM GMT+4
    The idea of microaggressions came to my awareness from a segment of NPR’s “Word of Mouth” in which host Virginia Prescott interviews Dr. Kevin Nadal, author of “Filipino- American Psychology,” a leading researcher on how microaggressions affect marginalized groups, and Vivian Lu, a grad student in cultural anthropology at Stanford and the  editor of the Microaggressions.com, website, where members of the public can post short accounts of microaggressions they experience.

    As an example: A physically disabled friend who was in a wheel chair for years and has recently been able to walk with crutches described to me that many people convey a sense of condescension toward a person in a wheelchair, beyond the literal fact that they are “looking down upon” them.

    She told me about a friend who did not want to speak out at meetings as an advocate for disabled people because she felt that, from a wheelchair, she would be unable to project a “commanding presence.”

    In the “Word of Mouth” program, Ms. Lu describes how people often do not even know that they are making derogatory remarks, and Dr. Nadal mentioned studies which show that these “subtle” daily insults often lead to depression, anxiety, and low-self-esteem.

    Unlike overt prejudice, the daily "sub-threshold" insults can leave the person hearing them confused, unsure of how to react, and the result can be extra stress.

    They discussed the idea that raising the issue microagressions may be vulnerable to accusations of “politic correctness;” and that awareness of microagressions can become over-sensitivity in which someone’s interpretation of events causes them to see microaggressions everywhere.

    Here is another example of dealing with a microaggression from my own life:

    A number of years ago, as a Realtor I was representing a couple who were looking for a property suitable for keeping a few horses. One member of this couple was a 76 year old gentleman, let’s call him “Ralph.”

    The late Frank Martocci was showing us a property in Hinsdale and telling us about it. Frank was explaining that there was a fire a few years back, and that the owner had rebuilt the house better than before the fire using the insurance money.

    “Oh, Jewish lightning!” said Ralph, looking proud to have said something so clever. I had never heard that expression before, but I “got it.” I hesitated for a second, not wanting friction with a client, but decided that I had to say something.

    In a quiet voice so that only Ralph could hear me I said: “I’m Jewish.”

    Ralph was mortified... I mean really mortified. He could not stop apologizing and trying to explain that he did not mean to slur anyone. He was relocating from rural area where Jews are not part of his world and I am convinced that he was just using an expression without thinking of actual Jewish people any more than someone might be thinking of Rom people when they use the expression “gyp.”

    Eventually we found a nice house on some acreage (in Springfield Vermont) which included a barn with three stalls, at an affordable price. Ralph was delighted as he did not want to buy hay, even if it might have been more cost- effective: He wanted to ride his own tractor over his own field; growing and harvesting his own hay.

    About 6 months after Ralph and his wife closed on the property, I was in Springfield and came by to visit. Ralph was alone as his wife was at work. I felt embarrassed because even though time had gone by and I has assured Ralph that it is past and done with and of no effect: He was still ashamed of the remark he had made, and kept apologizing.

    I felt really badly about that, and still do. Sometimes I wonder whether I could have just overlooked that remark. My reaction to the remark was in no way strident, but when I think of how terrible Ralph felt, it is hard not to regret having said anything.
    Authored by: Genie on Monday, January 30 2012 @ 06:22 AM GMT+4
    SK-B, If you think about it being female in the U.S. or in the world trumps all of your worries. We deal with micro and macro-aggression on a daily basis. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Being female in a male-dominated world is a bottom-line type of experience. Feel better, you have a dick. Just sayin'.

    Wonders Never Cease.
    Hold the door
    Authored by: spinoza on Monday, January 30 2012 @ 12:44 PM GMT+4
    Years ago, I read an article about elevator dynamics- and
    only remember the gist- the idea was that a
    sociologist/psychologist did a study about sizing-up and
    pecking order assumptions that are made instantly and
    silently while the little room is transporting its visitors.

    I remember the study registered the deflection of the eyes
    and turns of the mouth to show exaltation and submission
    in even the briefest of interactions.

    No wonder we're so messed up, we may instinctively,
    subconsciously, know how to get along and play nice, yet
    we don't automatically recognize ourselves as being on the
    same ride together.
    Authored by: Vidda on Monday, January 30 2012 @ 01:47 PM GMT+4

    Genie has identified a main strata of the bedrock of human aggression.

    From it springs up relentless warfare: between the genders and sexual nature of this TMW species. (Twisted Mental Wreckage). After so many generations of mental, spiritual, and physical embattlement, our minds are akin to the scattered wreckage you see when a plane hits the side of a mountain.

    The religious based patriarchal, pseudo father-centered family is one on the worst catastrophes of human mental evolution.

    Authored by: cgrotke on Monday, January 30 2012 @ 05:50 PM GMT+4
    If one can be microaggressive, can one be micropassive?
    Micro Humorous?
    Authored by: Mr. Buddy Love on Wednesday, February 01 2012 @ 02:18 PM GMT+4
    Or can one be micro-passive aggressive?

    Or micro humorous?
    This clip is along those lines, from Portlandia:
    I'm retarded; I kept trying to paste the clip in using html and
    the proper code but got 'missing plug-in' and gave up.
    (cut and paste both lines below into your browser to watch)

    Authored by: cgrotke on Wednesday, February 01 2012 @ 05:40 PM GMT+4
    I was being serious. I'm wondering if aggression is simply
    aggression, or if we have levels of passiveness or
    aggressiveness. Is the "micro" necessary?

    Can I be prejudiced toward someone just a bit? I'm not so
    Authored by: Mr. Buddy Love on Wednesday, February 01 2012 @ 10:50 PM GMT+4
    My Anthropology (amateur readings) tells me that not all
    aggression is 'bad' or 'good'. For example, if someone
    quickly grabs their child and runs from burning lava, that
    could be construed to be an aggressive act, but it's
    aggression to save the life of the child. If Kurt Cobain or
    Chuck Berry played aggressive guitar, that isn't 'bad'. It's
    fun aggression. If someone is aggressively trying to win at
    a chess tournament or a volleyball match, when it's in a
    controlled environment, I don't see this as bad either.

    For the purpose of looking at this, I see passive aggression
    as just another flavor of aggression.
    Old Habits
    Authored by: Lise on Tuesday, January 31 2012 @ 03:12 PM GMT+4
    There’s so much you could say about this topic. On the one hand, microagression such as being rude to someone, making “inappropriate” references, or other overt meanness toward someone because of some perceived difference is a bad thing. On the other hand, covering up people’s biases and misunderstandings with a layer of politeness doesn’t make the underlying problems go away.

    I think most of us have encountered prejudice. As a woman, you can’t watch tv without seeing the most absurd stereotypes of women in ads and on situation comedies. (Why are we seeing the return of the ditzy female, I wonder? Is that what we are?)

    Class is a big divider too — as a lower income person in an upper income family, I often feel less valid than my higher net worth cousins. My solution is just to pretend that I’m as affluent as they are without getting into subjects that I know they won’t understand and that will upset them. But if I forget and make some revealing remark, I know I’m going to hear about “choices.”

    It’s not quite the same, I know, but feeling marginalized seems to be part of life in the human race.

    That said, I also feel that political correctness has been jettisoned in favor of more openness about cultural differences. Hip hop introduced white kids to black people. Television brought gay people out into the open. Jews like Jon Stewart have been open about their Jewishness (despite, in Stewart’s case, the genericized stage name). In all cases, I believe humor was employed to make the case that yes, we are different, and yet, we are all the same.

    For my part, I love cultural differences and I’m interested in how people across the spectrum live their lives. The best solution, it seems to me, is live-and-let-live tolerance — on both sides. Where there is tension is when there is not acceptance by one or the other (or both) contending groups.

    And then there’s just knee-jerk bias. I winced when you mentioned ‘gyp.’ I’ve used that word lots and never knew where it came from. Even now that I do know, I still use it from time to time out of habit. (Never met a gypsy but always thought they were cool — I mean no harm to gypsies!) Our culture was absolutely biased 40 years ago. We’ve come a long way but old habits do seem to die hard.

    Old Habits
    Authored by: NorahCook on Wednesday, February 01 2012 @ 01:32 PM GMT+4
    Once heard of a wolf pack where there were various fights and injuries and humiliations that confused the status of the members of the pack to the point where an adolescent male was the only one holding his tail up high and perking his ears--he was nominal alpha wolf even with no age or experience. It's tempting to think of playing some roles in an elevator situation... would the most innocent, cheerful person overturn all the "rules"?
    Buddhists say that if you live to an old age without acquiring material things to any great extent... that's a good sign that you've been paying attention to what's "real" (spiritual life, other people and creatures) rather than engaging in endless samsaric desires. So you can say that some people "choose" not to exacerbate competition, greed, and inflamed desires... there's cause to be glad about that!
    Authored by: CurtissReed on Thursday, February 02 2012 @ 03:53 AM GMT+4
    Vermont Partnership trains organizations and businesses how to minimize racial microaggression in the workplace.

    Here is an excellent peer reviewed article that appeared in the May–June 2007 ● American Psychologist:

    Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life
    Implications for Clinical Practice by

    Derald Wing Sue, Christina M. Capodilupo, Gina C. Torino, Jennifer M. Bucceri, Aisha M. B. Holder, Kevin L. Nadal, and Marta Esquilin of Teachers College, Columbia University