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The term “microaggression” was used by Columbia professor Derald Sue to refer to “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 color.” I would like to talk about how microaggression was involved with me.
During PE last year my class was doing a track unit. While my friends and i were waiting our turn, snuck a Clif Bar. My friends began making fun of me for eating a Clif Bar, telling me that only white people eat Clif Bars while hiking with sandals and socks. At first I thought it was funny enough that I started cracking up.
Here is something to know about me. I’m mixed race. And sometimes I make fun of white people too. Later though I realized that what they said was completely not true and a little dumb. I was a little hurt. I’m not white. And calling me that erases my puerto rican heritage. Also puerto ricans can eat Clif Bars. I found it a little ironic because they were a different race than me but still people of color and usually white people make fun of different peoples races. I think that they had no idea what they were saying and just made stuff up.
I later learned that this instance was an example of microaggression. After hearing about the race related shootings and protests this month, I was thinking my experiences with microaggressions and how they related to these larger, more violent interactions.
Comedian and actor Arthur Chu tweeted “Microaggressions exist because of macroaggresions. Macroaggresions equals shooting a kid. Microaggression equals acting like it’s no big deal he was shot.” I thought this tweet was appropriate because it talks about tons of microaggressions not just the racism aspect.
I learned about microaggressions on Wednesday. Now I realize that the little jokes that we make have larger impact. I want to do my part in stopping microaggressions so that we never wonder if it’s a big deal if a kid gets shot.