Friday, March 7, 2014

in case you were out of the loop like me


-definition circa 1970: "small acts, the small 'non-physical aggressions' that are the product of and work to reinforce systems of inequality, such as racism, sexism, etc.  So while they are not necessarily different, microaggressions is an all-encompassing word to give a name to those acts/words/etc that attack and promote hate against a person's identity."  Chester Middlebrook Pierce

-definition circa 1973: above definition was expanded to include 'sex and gender'.  Mary Rowe

-definition circa 2007: “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.” Derald Wing Sue


  • "Hey, Ping, can you help me with this math problem?"  In this example, the student who sucks at math can't ask a person of Asian descent for help, because it's microaggressive to assume that Asians are good at math.
  • "Hey Terrence, can you and Errol come by my apartment sometime soon and help me with some decorating ideas?" In this example, the girl with the butt ugly apartment should not ask her gay friends for decorating advice because it's microaggressive for her to assume that gay men are the most excellent decorators.  (Quick somebody go alert the folks at House Beautiful!) 
  • "Here, Miss Mabel, you can have my seat."  In this example, the middle-aged white male who offered his seat to an elderly black woman will need to be taken into the public square and killed by a firing line because even though he may know her (since he calls her by name), not only has he made the "hurtful assumption" that she needs the seat more than he does, but he completely microkills her with his microaggressive behavior regarding her identity as a woman and a minority.
  • "Hey, stop the presses, this application only has two choices to check for sex - either 'male' or 'female'!" In this example, God himself is guilty of microaggression.

If you need more information, here are a few articles, but in this article, which basically contradicts itself in that it's ok for people of color to receive advancements because of affirmative action, but it's not ok to have an opinion on whether or not it is fair, nor is it ok to discuss it with the person, because either one of those can be mistaken as microaggression/microinsult or the microlike.   
And then there's this handy dandy chart, which you can print out for your refrigerator so that you can be reminded that while it's not ok to acknowledge somebody's ethnicity or color, it's also not ok to ignore it either, because you deny them of their ethnicity or racial experiences.  

Let's discuss.  

Do you find it odd that only white folks and God can be guilty of this crime? 

Do you find it odd that no one can be accused of microaggression if they post pictures of poor, fat, redneck women on The People of Walmart website.  

Furthermore, no one, regardless of race, sex, gender, etc. who openly speaks/sings of killing cops can be accused of micro(let alone macro)aggression.  Are the men and women who protect and serve immune from being microassaulted?

Even in the writing of this post, I have committed micro-aggression (microinvalidations, microinsults and/or microassaults) numerous times, but I gotta ask, when, oh when did America lose a sense of humor?  How have we gone from the good work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to this inwardward-spiraling-self-introspection-to-the-most-infinite-places-of-our-own-navels?  

Imma be honest, it makes fat, white crackers like me a little paranoid.  Do my black friends all roll their eyes at me behind my back and did I leave permanent scars on their psyche the last time we were together?  
Can anybody find or even see the tightrope that we are supposed to be walking on so as to not offend?

Lighten up America!  If I remember correctly, it feels so great to laugh!!

 Lord help us all.  

No comments: