Rock Valley College

Microaggressions

While many recognize the harm caused by harassment and assault, fewer understand the long-term effects caused by microaggressions. Below are resources on gender and gender-identity microaggressions, their impact on well-being, and how we can address them in the classroom and workplace at RVC. 

What is a microaggression? 

Microaggressions are:
• verbal and nonverbal behaviors
• communicate negative, hostile, and derogatory messages to people rooted in their marginalized group membership (based on gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, etc.)
• occur in everyday interactions
• can be intentional or unintentional
• are often unacknowledged

Three Forms of Microaggressions:

Microassaults: “old fashioned” discrimination 
• name-calling, avoidant behavior, or purposeful discriminatory actions
• likely to be conscious and deliberate

Microinsults: subtle snubs that communicate a covert insulting message
• convey stereotypes, rudeness, and insensitivity that demean a person’s identity
• are frequently unknown to the person

Microinvalidations: disconfrming messages 
•exclude, negate, or dismiss the thoughts, feelings, or experiences of certain groups 
• may be most damaging form of the three microaggressions