Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Learning Series

January/February 2023
Unpacking Microaggressions 

Microaggression is a term that was coined by Chester Pierce, a Harvard psychiatrist, to describe the subtle racial putdowns that degrade physical health over a lifetime. More recently, Derald Wing Sue, a Columbia University professor, described microaggressions as “brief and commonplace verbal, behavioral or environmental indignities—intentional or unintentional—which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults to people from marginalized groups.” The readings, videos, and podcasts provide opportunities to explore what microaggressions are, how they are experienced, and what can be done to counteract them.

Berk, R. A. (2017). Microaggressions trilogy: Part 1. Why do microaggressions matter? The Journal of Faculty Development31(1), 63.

Dalton, S. (2018). Minimizing and Addressing Microaggressions in the Workplace: Be Proactive, Part Two. C&RL News79(10), 538.

Garcia, G. A., & Crandall, J. R. (2016). ‘Am I Overreacting?’ Understanding and Combatting Microaggressions. Higher Education Today27.

Rogers, K. (2020, June 06). Anti-racist allies: How to respond to microaggressions

Microaggressions in Everyday Life (4 minutes)

YouTube: Derald Wing Sue, professor of psychology and education at Columbia Teachers College, talks about and provides examples of racial and gender microaggressions, including techniques for addressing them.


Microaggressions in the Classroom (19 minutes)

YouTube: Microaggressions are defined as “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory or negative racial slights and insults that potentially have a harmful or unpleasant psychological impact on the target person or group” (Solorzano, Ceja, & Yosso, 2000). This video unpacks microaggressions by defining microinsult, microassault, and microinvalidations.

Microaggressions Are A Big Deal: How To Talk Them Out And When To Walk Away (22 minutes)

NPR podcast: Microaggressions are daily, thinly veiled instances of racism, homophobia, sexism, and other biases in gestures, comments, or insults. But the "micro" doesn't mean that the acts don't have a significant impact. So, while there's no one right way to address a microaggression, we have some pointers for ways you can begin to respond.

  1. Describe a time you experienced or witnessed a microaggression. What was the underlying assumption? How did you feel? What did you do?
  2. Upon reflection, think about a time you may have committed a microaggression. What was the underlying message? How did you feel? What did you do?
  3. What have you done, or can you do to stop perpetuating microaggressions?

Come ready to engage on Tuesday, February 14 from 11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. in Education Room 257.  Following are details.

For in-person:
Lunch from 11:45 am – 12 noon
Session from 12:00-1:00 p.m.

For zoom:
Join Zoom Meeting from 12:00-1:00 p.m. (an ASL interpreter will be available)
Please email Rachel Barton for the zoom link.

November 2022
Becoming Inclusive