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Lesson 8, Topic 62
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Core Episode

Core Episode

Impact of Microaggressions


Key Takeaways

Microaggressions are some of the most harmful and damaging things that we can do to a person, especially a student. Like little seeds that are planted that can torment you and really change how you view yourself. When I think of microaggressions, I think of off handed comments or compliments that are really rooted and centered around biases that we have about different social identity groups. So when someone says something like, 

“You talk very articulate for a Black man.”

That’s a huge microaggression. So when I think of the long term impact of microaggressions on children…it can be internalized in a way where they alter who they are because they assume that it’s what people expect of them. I went through so many years of my white colleagues commenting on how well spoken I am or how articulate I am and there was this a phase a few years ago where I would just stutter and I would stumble over my words so often because instead of just speaking from the heart, I was thinking about…

What am I saying?

How is it sounding?

Nope, I can’t say that.

Nope, I can’t say that.

Let me touch this up a little bit.

And it makes me wonder when I hear myself speak, how much of that is me? And, how much of that is me feeding into this expectation that I’m supposed to be articulate. Especially as a Black male educator. And so when I think of microaggressions, I think of these very small moments, like that one incident in that classroom where our beliefs and biases are exposed in these very small ways and most times they are unconscious, but when it constantly happens, you have a hard time believing that it truly is unconscious. They feel deliberate. They feel like attacks. And when they happen on a consistent basis, they cause so much harm, and that was happening to me as an adult. I can’t imagine what it felt like for a student in that classroom to show up every single day and potentially be exposed to microaggressions.