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microaggressions

Slights and snubs based on racial discrimination. Some are unintentional. Microaggressions can be questions or expressions about a person’s identity or abilities. They can be behaviours. Racial microaggressions include judgments like “You don’t act like a normal Black person,” and “You probably can’t afford that.” They can be actions like locking the car door when a person perceived as a threat walks by. There is evidence these experiences pile up and can hurt mental health and performance at work or school. The term microaggression has been around since the 1970s. According to Columbia University’s Dr. Derald Wing Sue, there have been 5,500 microaggression studies since 2005. [For an interesting discussion of the term microaggression, see The Seattle Times’ “Under Our Skin” project.]

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