General Article Microaggressions are not a ‘harmless’ form of racism – they have a huge impact

Topic Selected: Racism Book Volume: 376

Racism comes in many forms, but there are two key categories – overt and covert.

By Natalie Morris

Overt racism is the obvious, undeniable stuff. The ‘n-word’, the ‘p-word’, the aggressive, openly hostile stuff.

Covert is sneakier, harder to pinpoint, harder to call out. This is the category microaggressions fall in to, and many people of colour in this country experience them on a daily basis.

On their own, microaggressions may not seem like much, and they can be easy to brush off in isolation – but the accumulative effect of brushing off multiple microaggressions, every day, can be draining, demoralising and utterly disheartening.

What is a microaggression?

A microaggression is an instance of subtle, indirect discrimination against a marginalised group. It doesn’t always have to be about race – they can be based on gender, sexuality and physical ability too – but they are commonly experienced by racial minorities.

The dictionary says that microaggressions can be ‘unintentional’ – ...

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