Monday, May 21, 2012

Practicing Awareness of Microaggressions

Blog: Practicing Awareness of Microaggressions

At the beginning of this week I was asked to observe the verbal interactions of other people as well as myself and detect examples of microaggression. In this Blog Assignment, I will share what I experienced and what I learned from my observations.
  • Describe at least one example of a microaggression which you detected this week or remember from another time. In what context did the microaggression happen? What did you think and feel when you observed the microaggression or when you found yourself as the target of a microaggression?
I found myself being the target of a microaggression Mother’s Day weekend. I took my car to the dealership to get an oil change and for the service men/women to check a light that was off in my car that used to be on which is located on the dash of my car. While I was there, the service men (who were Cauasian) concluded that I was mistaken and that I purchased my car with the light out. At that point, I asked to speak with a manager so that the problem could be rectified….as the person walked away, I heard him say these people are always coming in here demanding something. I immediately said to myself is he saying “these people” because I am black or a woman or because I am a black woman. At that point, I felt as if I had to defend myself because I felt as if I was being attacked. I felt the underlining message was black woman are always angry and confrontational…..when in reality I was not angry, but I was not the woman/ customer who will not agree to something especially if I know that I am right in my concerns and that they were wrong.
As I reflect, I think their comments were intentional and it is still up in the air if it was because I am a woman or black or a black woman. In this scenario, the underlying message was black people are demanding and confrontational, when in reality I am just a customer who wants to be treated with respect especially since I am paying for the service.
  • In what ways did your observation experiences this week affect your perception of the effects of discrimination, prejudice, and/or stereotypes on people

My experience affected my perception of the effects stereotypes can have  on people because it made me see how people/groups pass judgment on other people/groups and indirectly believe one group can be uncivil and should behave the way they do. This type of behavior can affect ones self esteem because you can begin to view yourself as being the type of person who is uncooperative and unwilling to work well with others. As I reflect on microaggression I have learned that I need to start spending quality time with people whom look different than me so that I can gain a better understanding of them as an individual and of their culture.



  1. Hi Nicky...what an awful experience! I hope your issue was resolved and I hope they went the extra mile to make up for their unacceptable customer service.
    It isn't hard to find everyday microaggression offenses if one is looking for them. Just yesterday I experienced intern just started yesterday and our head honcho walked her through the building introducing her to the staff; when they reached our Sports office the intern stopped expecting to be introduced while the supervisor kept walking having no intentions of introducing "us" to the intern. How rude!

  2. Nicky,

    That is a frustrating experience! I always hate going to the mechanics to get my car worked on because they usually assume I don't know what I'm talking about because I am a woman. I tried several different locations before I finally found a place where I feel respected. I wish that people could be more open-minded and less judgmental!

  3. Nikon

    I can totally relate to this situation. Before I was married I felt so vulnerable taking my car to be serviced for fear that I would be ripped off and for a simple lack of knowledge. You and I on top of being females have to deal with the daunting experiences dealing with our race. I am so glad for the knowledge we gained on microaggression. It puts a name to and give some answers to what we have experienced most of our lives.


  4. Nicky,

    Your experience that I think is shared by women around the world. I remember going to buy my first new car and my parents were with me. The salesman kept referring to my dad about the specs of the car but he wanted to show me all the mirrors and the glove box that could hold an entire six pack of soda. As a 21 year old I did not initially know how to respond. Thankfully I had a father who promptly told the salesman that I was the buyer so he needed to talk to me not him. In that moment, standing next to my dad I felt more important than I ever had. To this day when I shop for things I take my dad and he always lets them know who the buyer is.

  5. Hi Nick, it is sad that African American are still being labeled as those people. This is still a stereotype and so much racism, but in a different form being conducted everyday. This was a terrible experience, and I put in my mind just to ignore ignorance. The reason that I say this is because as a African American, we face challenges everyday. Thanks for the honest post.

  6. Hi Nicky,

    I understand how you feel. I hear the same comments myself when I have to deal with the opposite race. Mostly white people. However, I feel that as much as people may want to believe that this world has done better with being racist, they still have a long way to go. Sure enough they don't treat us like they did before the movement, but they just have a more nice-nasty way of exhibiting their racism. I often have to remind some that I was born after the movement and I refuse to be disrespected.