Simply defined, a micro-aggression is a: “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color.”
There’s a plethora of sources online that you can find that will help you understand more about micro-aggressions. However, this is my two cents. Examples of micro-aggressions I (Asian-American Person of Color) encounter on a regular at my predominately white campus:
- What ARE you?
- No like, where are you REALLY from?
- Do you speak Asianese?
- Oh my gosh, you’re so lucky you’re exotic. Exotic is so in right now.
- You speak perfect English, where are you from?
- Dude, I love oriental people! You guys have awesome food.
- You have a nice butt…for an Asian girl.
- No, you’re Chinese.
- You’re not a real Asian girl.
- You have big eyes…for an Asian girl.
I could go on forever (remind you this is just my personal experience, everyone is different and I DO NOT SPEAK for the entirety of my race just because I’m your one Asian token friend).
My answer to all of these horrible, numbered statements is STFU. Stop telling me how Asian girls are supposed to look, stop generalizing POC, stop telling me what race and ethnicity I am supposed to be based on your standards, stop putting me in a box, stop your backhand hidden compliments. Is your racist statement supposed to make me feel good about myself? Please. I’m tired of having to apologize and explain myself. I am constantly told to “get over it” when I address my irritation or confront people who say these things to me. No, I’m not sensitive (because having feelings apparently is not in), if you were in my situation you would go nuts.
Stop invalidating our opinions and experiences just because you don’t feel comfortable with accepting that your cultural norms are being challenged; it’s just another form of internalized oppression ya bish. You see, POC are pretty used to blatantly racist experiences in their life, we know how to deal with that kind of stuff (macro-aggressions). But when we have to think twice, even thrice about whether or not what you or someone else said to them is subtly racist/offensive or not, it increases our stress exponentially (on top of all the other crap we deal with in society). It’s a CONSTANT reminder that we don’t fit your standards and that we’re inferior because we’re different.
Like a mosquito bite, it’s not too bad to be bit every once in a while, but when you have a swarm of mosquitoes on yo ass every few hours, you want to swat all those mthf*ckers so you can have some peace. Some people get bit more than others. You wouldn’t tell someone being attacked by a swarm of blood sucking mosquitoes to get over it, so you shouldn’t with micro-aggressions either. Just because you don’t get bit, doesn’t make someone else’s bug bites any else itchy.
DON’T BE A MOSQUITO.