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Recognizing and Responding to Microaggressions at Work

They are everywhere

We’ve all been in situations at work when someone says or does something that feels hostile or offensive to some aspect of our identity — and the person doesn’t even realize it. These kinds of actions — insensitive statements, questions or assumptions — are called “microaggressions,” and they can target many aspects of who we are. For example, they could be related to someone’s race, gender, sexuality, parental status, socioeconomic background, mental health or any other aspect of our identity.

Most often, microaggressions are aimed at traditionally marginalized identity groups.

Yet these hurtful actions can happen to anyone, of any background, at any professional level. A microaggression against a Black woman, for example, could be “You aren’t like the other Black people I know” (indicating the person is different from the stereotypes of Black people), whereas one for a White male might be, “Oh, you don’t ever have to worry about fitting in” (indicating that all White men are always comfortable and accepted). Essentially, microaggressions are based on a simple, damaging idea: “Because you are X, you probably are/are not or like/don’t like Y.”

Please select this link to read the complete article from The Harvard Business Review.

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