Understanding microaggressions

Microaggressions is a term that is becoming increasingly applied to workplace behaviours.

As suggested by their name, they may appear small, but over time they can have a detrimental impact on staff experience and wellbeing. Often likened to ‘death by a thousand cuts’ they can contribute to someone feeling they do not belong or are not accepted.

These intentional or often unintentional behaviours can undermine a culture of inclusion so all of us need to be aware of how they manifest and work together to call them out when they occur.

Microaggressions are defined as the everyday, subtle, intentional — and oftentimes unintentional — interactions or behaviours that communicate some sort of bias toward historically marginalized groups. The difference between microaggressions and overt discrimination or macroaggressions, is that people who commit microaggressions might not even be aware of them.

Dr. Kevin Nadal, Professor of Psychology, City University of New York

Microaggressions handbook

Learn more about the subtle, less obvious forms of unacceptable behaviours, the impact they have and what you can do.

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