Microaggressions are subtle, often unconscious or unintentional actions or behaviors that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to people based on their marginalized identities. These actions can take various forms, including verbal comments, nonverbal gestures, and everyday actions that may seem harmless to the person engaging in them, but can have a significant impact on the person receiving them.
Examples of microaggressions can include:
- Making assumptions about someone’s background or identity based on their appearance
- Using derogatory language or slurs
- Excluding someone from social or professional opportunities because of their identity
Microaggressions can be directed at any marginalized group, including people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, disabled people, and women. Microaggressions can be hurtful and harmful, and can contribute to the marginalization and oppression of marginalized groups. It is important to be aware of microaggressions and to strive to avoid engaging in them, in order to create a more inclusive and respectful society.
Easy ways to address microaggressions at your school or workplace.
Learn about the history of AAVE and its cultural significance to appreciate its origins and the fluidity of language.
Support efforts to promote linguistic diversity and equity.
Appreciate – Don’t Appropriate
Using AAVE as a non-African American is appropriative and disrespectful. It contributes to the marginalization and stigmatization of AAVE speakers. If you are a white person, avoid using it.
The use of the phrase “woke” has strayed far from its roots and has been co-opted by conservatives and mainstream culture to discredit calls for accountability and justice.
Non-Black people’s use of N-word alternatives is a harmful attempt to get close to the original slur. Even with modifications, the N-word is not theirs to reclaim.
Despite AAVE being popularized in pop culture, Black people are still ridiculed in workplaces, classrooms, and other parts of society for using it.
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