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.