Microagressions

Standard

I observed a microagression display this week during one meeting by the same person. This assignment was not as simple as I thought because I wanted be as objective as possible and give people the benefit of the doubt without jumping to conclusions or reading more into a comment or behavior than what ought to be.

Prior to our weekly meeting we were just sitting around talking and joking, taking a brain break in a sense. One of the Black teachers described an incident with a parent who had gotten upset and became rude and short in her speech. A comment was made from a White teacher that stated, “Yeah, they always get upset.” We all got quiet and went on speaking about something else. Now during this same meeting, the same teacher jokingly called another colleague a blonde based on the questions she was asking. I looked around the room and all the White teachers were blondes. I saw them put their heads down in embarrassment and one teacher did speak up, that teacher responded with an apology.

I do not think this was intentionally done. I think the first was  display of racial micro- aggression and the other was another form of classifying someone in a group and degrading them because of, in this case, their hair color.

Although I felt that there was very little discrimination going on daily, I did not realize how often microaggressions are happening. I observed and took notes during our meeting which lasted three hours and found two outright cases…what would happen if I observed for a whole day?

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One response »

  1. Patricia,
    Blonde jokes are microaggression statements and I would agree that they may not be intentionally hurtful but they could be. We also often hear teachers say things about parents just as you did. Times like that always make me uncomfortable and I never know what to say. That usually means I say nothing at all rather than speaking up. I can understand why you wanted to give the benefit of a doubt and it probably wasn’t intended to be hurtful. That’s one of the things we learned that they can be unintentional statements.
    GInny

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