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Lemieux Library
Lemieux Library

Lemieux's List: Microaggressions

Microaggressions is a tough topic to approach. The subtlety in comments or actions may not reflect a person's intentions or views towards others, but a receiver may strongly perceive the undertones anyway. Access Services staff wanted to create a resource hub, whether you are new to this topic or wanting to learn more, shedding light upon how such disconnect occurs. 

Special shout-outs to the student workers in Access Services for their contributions.

What are Microaggressions?

Seattle Times: Under Our Skin Project

What Does Microaggression Mean to You?

"I first heard of The Seattle Times: "Under Our Skin" Project from one of my professors at the University of Washington who actually participates in this project. It is a collection of videos of individuals living in the Seattle area discussing various topics surrounding race." - Submission and comment from Courteney

Microaggressions in Everyday Life

"Simply stated, microaggressions are brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to certain individuals because of their group membership (people of color, women, or LGBTs)." (24) These may be verbal, nonverbal, or environmental.

Forms of Microaggressions

  • Microassaults - "conscious, deliberate, and either subtle or explicit racial, gender, or sexual-orientation biased attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors that are communicated to marginalized groups through environmental cues, verbalizations, or behaviors." (28)
    • E.g. - Displaying a Klan hood, racial epithets, forbidding a child to marry outside one's races
    • Microassults most likely appear when perpetrators have (1) anonymity, (2) feel safe, (3) lose control.
    • Most associated as "old-fashioned" or "true" racism: direct, deliberate, obvious, etc.
  • Microinsults - "interpersonal or environmental communications that convey stereotypes, rudeness, and insensitivity and that demean a person’s racial, gender, or sexual orientation, heritage, or identity." (32)
  • Microinvalidations - "communications or environmental cues that exclude, negate, or nullify the psychological thoughts, feelings, or experiential reality of certain groups..." (37)

Themes of Microaggressions 

Tool from UCSC: Recognizing Microaggressions and the Message They Send

Submission from Isabel W. Class of 2021, Jennifer C. Class of 2020, and Emily L. Class of 2020

Living with microaggressions

Killing me Softly

  • Web-based text game that follows a Choose Your Own Adventure format



Submission from Karen

In the Classroom

Examples of Microaggressions in the Classroom

Excerpt from Article:

  • Failing to learn to pronounce or continuing to mispronounce the names of students after they have corrected you.
  •  Scheduling tests and project due dates on religious or cultural holidays.
  •  Disregarding religious traditions or their details. (Ex. Impacts of fasting)
  •  Setting low expectations for students from particular groups, neighborhoods, or feeder patterns.
  •  Calling on, engaging and validating one gender, class, or race of students while ignoring other students during class.
  •  Assigning student tasks or roles that reinforce particular gender roles or don’t allow all students flexibility across roles and responses.‚ÄčAnticipating students’ emotional responses based on gender, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity...

Submission from August B. Class of 2021

At the Workplace

Perceived microaggressions in health care: A measurement study

  • A cross-sectional research design studying perceived racial microaggressions, discrimination, and mental health in 296 American Americans and Latino respondents.
  • Effects of microaggressions - prevents the opportunity for a healthy relationship to develop between patients and providers, which in turn comes out as "non-compilance" from the patient

Submission from Emma K. Class of 2021

Impacts on Marginalized Groups

Psychology Today - Microaggressions: More than Just Race by Derald Wing Sue Ph.D

"Racial, gender, and sexual orientation microaggressions are active manifestations and/or a reflection of our worldviews of inclusion/exclusion, superiority/inferiority, normality/abnormality, and desirability/undesirability. Microaggressions reflect the active manifestation of oppressive worldviews that create, foster, and enforce marginalization." - Derald Wing Sue Ph.D

 Submission from August B. Class of 2021

Submission from Arden P. Class of 2021

How to Respond to Microaggressions

The New York Times : "How to Respond to Microaggressions"


Questions to Reflect on:

"It lists five questions to ask yourself when weighing the consequences of responding to a microaggression:

  • If I respond, could my physical safety be in danger?

  • If I respond, will the person become defensive and will this lead to an argument?

  • If I respond, how will this affect my relationship with this person (e.g., co-worker, family member, etc.)

  • If I don’t respond, will I regret not saying something?

  • If I don’t respond, does that convey that I accept the behavior or statement?"

What to say after deciding to respond:

"Ask for more clarification: 'Could you say more about what you mean by that?' 'How have you come to think that?'

Separate intent from impact: 'I know you didn’t realize this, but when you __________ (comment/behavior), it was hurtful/offensive because___________. Instead you could___________ (different language or behavior.)'

Share your own process: 'I noticed that you ___________ (comment/behavior). I used to do/say that too, but then I learned____________.'”

Submission from Courteney & August B. Class of 2021

Why We Need to Call Out Casual Racism

Submission from Isabel W. Class of 2021

Links to On-Campus Resources

Listen to NPR

NPR Podcast: Code Switch

"What is CODE SWITCH? It's the fearless conversations about race that you've been waiting for! Hosted by journalists of color, our podcast tackles the subject of race head-on. We explore how it impacts every part of society-- from politics  and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between. This podcast makes ALL OF US part of the conversation--- because we're all part of the story."


Submission from Grace H. Class of 2020

Microaggression Theory: influence and implications

                                        Submission from Caitlin

Scenarios and Exercises

  • Workshop goes over goals, roles, and strategies around situations

Submission from Isabel W. Class of 2020 & Emma K. Class of 2021

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People

            Submission from Arden P. Class of 2021

Implicit Bias Tests

Ever wondered about your own biases? Check out the implicit bias tests from Project Implicit:


Submission from Rachel D. & Grace H. Class of 2020

American Bar Association

Unconscious Bias, Implicit Bias, and Microaggressions: What Can We Do about Them?



Submission from Arden P. Class of 2021