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Microaggressions at Work

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Taralyn Caudle

on 15 April 2013

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Transcript of Microaggressions at Work


Presented by:
Taralyn J. Caudle
Programs Coordinator
UAH, Office of Diversity FOR MORE INFORMATION:
UAH Office of Diversity
Shelbie King Hall
taralyn.caudle@uah.edu DiversityInc. http://www.diversityinc.com/

Haberstroh, Rick. (2011, September 23).
Microaggressions can cause problems in the workplace. Birmingham Business Journal.

Sue, Derald Wing (2010) Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Race, Gender and Sexual Orientation. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

U.S. Department of Labor. (2009). SOURCES The power of microaggressions often lies in their invisibility.
No one is immune to microaggressions.
Marginalized people are capable of committing microaggressions, too. FINAL THOUGHTS ORGANIZATIONS Acknowledge hidden biases
Be an advocate
“Ask and apologize” (if you commit an offense)
Be open to communication (if you experience microaggressions)
Participate in diversity trainings, multicultural programs INDIVIDUALS HOW NOT TO LOSE FRIENDS AND ALIENATE PEOPLE Depression- isolation from co-workers, fatigue, etc.
Anxiety- dreading work, panic attacks, etc.
Paranoia- sense of always being on guard
Sleep Difficulties- falling and/or staying asleep
Lack of Confidence- questioning abilities or doubting worth to the company PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT ON MARGINALIZED EMPLOYEES ARE WE MAKING A MOUNTAIN OUT OF A MOLE HILL? Threaten future financial security of employees and economic viability of employers
Lead to decreased work productivity
Contribute to unwelcoming work environment
Frustrate marginalized employees with little legal recourse WORKPLACE IMPLICATIONS Women make up 46.5% of the U.S. Labor force- but continue to occupy the lower paying/status jobs. (U.S. Dept. of Labor, 2009)
More than half (50.4%) of babies born in the U.S. in 2011 were of Black, Latino or Asian descent. (Diversity, Inc., 2012)- but people of color continue to be the most underemployed and unemployed when compared with their White counterparts. THE FACTS The diversification of the American workforce REQUIRES that we all learn to understand and identify microaggressions that affect these groups in the workplace. SO HOW DO MICROAGGRESSIONS AFFECT ME? Communications or environmental cues that exclude, negate, or nullify the psychological thoughts, feelings, or experiential reality of certain groups, such as people of color, women, and LGBTs. (Sue, 2010)
May manifest in the myth of meritocracy; denial of racism, sexism,etc.; color, gender, sexual-orientation blindness; treatment as an alien in one’s own land. MICROINVALIDATIONS Interpersonal or environmental communications that convey stereotypes, rudeness, and insensitivity and that demean a person’s racial, gender, or sexual orientation, heritage, or identity. (Sue, 2010)
May manifest in the assumption of criminal status, sexual objectification, treatment as a second-class citizen, assumption of abnormality, or ascription of intelligence. MICROINSULTS Similar to “traditional” racism (racial slurs, jokes about women, etc.)
Likely conscious or deliberate acts
Committed when offenders :
Feel anonymous
Feel safe
Lose control (Former Rutgers coach, Mike Rice) MICROASSAULTS “Because no one is immune from inheriting the biases of society, all citizens are exposed to a social conditioning process that imbues within them prejudices, stereotypes and beliefs that lie outside their level of consciousness.”
(Sue, 2010) CAN’T ARABS BE “DECENT FAMILY MEN”, TOO? SO, WHAT’S WRONG WITH BEING AN ARAB? McCain YouTube Clip SO, WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU MEAN? “I got gypped.” “Don’t be an Indian giver.” “That’s so gay!” IT’S JUST AN EXPRESSION… “You speak [English] so well.” During the interview, the vice president seemed very casual and relaxed. She[Kathleen] noted, however, that he referred to male employees as “Mr. X” and to female employees by their first names. Several times he called her “Kathy.” She thought about telling her that she preferred “Kathleen,” but didn’t want to alienate her potential employer… When she inquired about the criteria the company would use to hire for the position, the vice president joked, “What do you need a job for, anyway? You can always find a good man.”

Excerpt from “Microaggressions in Everyday Life” Derald Wing Sue WAS THAT A COMPLIMENT? Are usually targeted toward marginalized groups (women, racial/ethnic minorities, LGBTQ, etc.)
Are often subtle, and hard to recognize
Can have long-lasting psychological impact on recipients- cumulative effect
Can be difficult to address in the workplace MICROAGGRESSIONS: Microaggressions are the brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial, gender, sexual-orientation, and religious slights and insults to the target person or group.
(Sue, Capodilupo, et al. 2007) WHAT ARE MICROAGGRESSIONS? Define and learn how to identify microaggressions
Examine the effects of microaggressions and their impact in the workplace
Identify ways to address microaggressions at the individual and organizational level OBJECTIVES Microassaults


Microinvalidations CATEGORIES OF MICROAGGRESSIONS Adopt a multicultural rather than color/gender-blind approach
Monitor policies and practices (equal treatment?)
Make sure diversity occurs at all levels
Establish support networks (ERGs, mentoring, etc.)
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