This session will bring several panelists together to share information about microaggressions, microresistence, and microafirmations. Microagressions are “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative…slights and insults” (Sue et al. 2007 p. 271). They can be about race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, body size/type, ability status/disability, age, or veteran status. Microaggressions may or may not be unintentional or automatic, come from well-meaning people, and may leave everyone involved uncertain about what happened. Once we learn to recognize microaggressions we can see previously unrecognized hostility in our interactions with others. The next step is to learn how to react in a constructive way. Instead of defensively reacting, we can engage in “microresistance.” We can proactively work toward an equitable environment for everyone. As a positive strategy to prevent microaggressions, we can use “microaffirmations,” or small acts that foster inclusion, listening, comfort, and support for people who may feel isolated or invisible in an environment (Rowe, 2008). These can include welcoming facial expressions, making concerted efforts to use correct names, pronunciations, and pronouns, affirming a person’s feelings and experiences, and rewarding positive behaviors. They are grounded in an environment marked by generosity, credit-giving, support, and respect for all.
Supported By:IDEA WG – WOW sub-committee