Microaggressions are papercuts.
Let me tell you a story.
I am a writer with a day job. I have children, and a mouth like an oil slick! This last week, I had to remember that. My nurse manager, Cindy (oh, it’s her real name) came at me sideways about a black scrub shirt I wore, saying I was out of uniform. Now, JAHCO was coming (the agency that makes sure hospitals are doing what they are supposed to), and everything else I had on was fine. It was just the shirt. I told her that the reason I had it on was because I hadn’t washed that week. This is after she came at me about me being on my phone doing college work on another floor. Then she looked aghast when I rolled my shoulders and just stared at her.
Did she apologize? No. Why? She didn’t think she did anything wrong. The problem with microaggressions is the people who are committing them see nothing wrong. It is causal and casual racism with a smile. It is these small things that are an irritation in the live of BIPOC people in this nation! The casual handling of our lives and issues as if they do not matter or are common–because they do not belong or concern the non-melaninated.
It is a way to handle us in a way that can be excused because we are ‘less’ than. The killer part? It’s never noticed…or if it is, they are ignored? And with respect to reciprocity, once you have experienced it–you will never forget it.
You won’t forget how you felt.
How it made you feel.
How you dealt with it.
Microaggressions aren’t meant to soothe–they are meant to wound. They are meant to knock down, to assault and make humble the ambitious whom find themselves not White. You deal with them as with any pestilence–with armed resistance. You record. You don’t shrink. You call it out incident by incident.
Do not be silent. You have no reason to.