Microaggressions | Teen Ink


July 15, 2015
By KatalyticReaction GOLD, Frisco, Texas
KatalyticReaction GOLD, Frisco, Texas
17 articles 1 photo 8 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We need more completely sane people doing completely crazy things.” -Hank Green

I believe that racism still exists. I believe that it may not be as obvious as it may seem. I believe that it may even be more unintentional than it used to be, although that is not an excuse to insult someone’s race or culture. I used to frequently get asked the question, “Where are you from?” and my answer would always be “I’m from Frisco. I’m from Texas.” but they would always respond with “No, where are you really from?” As if I weren’t really from Texas.

It was a while before I discovered this was something called a microaggression. A microaggression is a verbal or behavioral insult, intentional or not, that is directed at people of color, people who aren’t white. An example of this would be saying, “So… You’re (insert East Asian race here), right?” or “Can you see as much as white people? You know, because of your eyes?” or “Do you know how to read this?” followed by some character in some East Asian language like they were all identical.  And I realize that this question (where are you from?) wasn’t meant to hurt or insult, like most microaggressions, and maybe that’s the worst part. The fact that it is unintentionally harmful does not make it any less harmful, just as saying “No offense.” after saying something offensive does not make it any less offensive.

And things like microaggressions do influence the living and quality of life of people of color. In an article by Derald Sue, Ph.D, a Professor of Psychology and Education, he shows that White American males make up 33% of the population, yet they occupy about  90% of public school superintendents, 97.7% of U. S. presidents, and  92% of Forbes 400 executive CEO-level positions.

Well, who is responsible for this? The answer is me...and you...and everyone else too, because I am racist. I act racist, sometimes unintentionally and I am completely unaware of it, and sometimes I very intentionally act racist, actively enforcing stereotypes I know are untrue, and this is the reason so many white American men hold so many high positions.


I believe racism still exists, and I believe people think being called a racist is worse than being racist so that when they do act racist and are called out for it, they defend themselves instead of changing their behavior. I think the solution to this problem is to educate yourself and for me to educate myself on what racism is exactly and how not to enforce it. Racism is largely rooted in ignorance that leads to stereotyping and microaggressions, and I believe that education of racism will one day prevent it.

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