Our AMPLIFY series explores ways in which our communities can actively work to combat racism and injustice. This week, we’re focusing on micro-aggressions.
Micro-aggressions are small, sometimes imperceptible everyday things that are said or done to black people and other people of colour that are rooted in racism, discrimination and prejudice. They are defined by the term’s founder, Dr Chester Pierce, as “subtle, stunning, often automatic and non-verbal exchanges which are ‘put-downs’ of Black people”.
Some examples of micro-aggressions and their true underlying meanings were rounded up by the non-profit organisation The Conscious Kid:
The name ‘micro-aggressions’ is thus fitting as it illustrates small and insidious yet very harmful acts. Micro-Aggressions can not only have a lasting psychological impact on their target, but also point to a deep-rooted prejudice within the person that says them. In short, before you say something to a black person, ask yourself this question: would you say that same thing to a person who isn’t black? If not, then it’s best to stay silent and then to do the work to combat the prejudice that made you want to say that thing in the first place. And if you notice someone else using a micro-aggression, it’s important to offer support to the target by calling out what was said. This will help people of colour feel safer and less attacked and contribute to the larger fight against prejudice and discrimination.