What is Microaggression and How to Avoid It

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What Is Microaggression And How To Avoid It

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Definition of Microagression
  • The Issues With Microagression
  • The Prejudiced Nature of Microagression
  • Conclusion


Each person interprets aggressions or microaggressions differently. There are people who get angry and there are others who take it as a joke. It is very important that we as a community create awareness and stop this type of aggressions. An effective way to combat microaggression is expressing how we feel when other people use microaggression. It is always good to encourage good communication and always explain to the person how the comment affected us. By doing that the person will know that those types of comments are not correct, and he will remember not to make the same mistake again. Through this work we will be able to know the three types of microaggression and is the definition and examples. The impact this has on the life of each human being, especially the minority population and the importance of each health professional to know what is involved and how to avoid using this type of aggression.

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Definition of Microagression

Microaggressions are derogatory slights or insults directed at a target person or persons who are members of an oppressed group. In other words, microaggression is a way to marginalize a person or group of people because of their race, sexual orientation, disability, gender, or environment. There are two main categories of long-term memory, implicit memory and explicit memory. Explicit memory is responsible for retaining information that can be easily expressed and I am aware of. Implicit memory is responsible for retaining information that cannot be expressed easily in words and we are not aware of them. These types of long-term memory distinguish microaggressive attitudes since these aggressions are committed unconsciously and not always the person who does then think that their actions harm others.

The Issues With Microagression

One of the most common problems of microaggressions is that people think it is something insignificant. If a person complains about being a victim of microaggressions, others take it as someone sensitive or exaggerated. It is important to note that microaggressions are not only negative comments, they can also be expressed as a game, joke and the person may think that the comment does not cause harm by being expressed in that way. Normally it is expressed in a subtle and harmless way, but the use has consequences that can affect us emotionally and affect our self-esteem.

The majority of microaggressions are racial and can be transmitted consciously or unconsciously. These are considered as a verbal attack on minority groups using discriminatory words or phrases. Microaggressions are seemingly innocuous words or behaviors that supposedly communicate a bias towards minority groups, such as asking Asian Americans where they come from, implying that they are not really part of the EE. It is used by people who think that their race or social group is superior to the others. Normally people who commit these aggressions do not think about the damage that this can cause both psychological and emotional.

The Prejudiced Nature of Microagression

Microagressions generate prejudices and implicit aggressive behaviors. In order to understand the term of microaggression, we must know what racism is. Racism is the belief that members of racial or ethnic groups are innately inferior. Microaggressions are mostly racist comments and can be classified as a subtle racism. A microassault is an explicit racial derogation characterized primarily by a verbal or nonverbal attack meant to hurt the intended victim though name-calling, avoidant behavior, or purposeful discriminatory actions. Example: Betty, a White American woman between 20-25 years. Selma a Muslim woman between 30-34 years. Betty and Selma are on a plane bound for California. In the process of boarding the plane, Betty notice that her seat was next to Selma and saw from her physical characteristics and clothing that Selma was Muslim. Seeing her, Betty asked for a seat change because she did not want to sit near Selma because she didn't felt secured and was afraid of sitting next to a terrorist. Because of the way Betty reacted, you can see how she uses the microassault and assumes that the Muslim religion is synonymous of terrorism.


I consider important that a counselor or health professional understands perfectly what microaggression is, since this would help to make the connection with the client more effective. As we take the time to learn theories, concepts, and disorders, it is important to spend time learning about any type of aggression and social problems that exist today. Minority groups are sometimes marginalized and constantly suffer from prejudices and microaggressions. As counselors we must provide a successful therapy and make it possible for the client to not stop visiting. If we as mental health professionals do not offer effective therapy to diverse clients, they will deny professional help and catalog all therapists as professionally incompetent to serve diverse people. By being able to know what microaggressions are, we will be able to better understand our clients. The rapport with our clients will be more effective if we as professionals listen carefully to the words or complaints that this presents. Effective counseling is likely to occur when both therapist and client are able to form a working relationship, therapeutic alliance, or some form of positive coalition. It is very important that health professionals pay attention to clients' cultural messages and adapt their practices to improve positive results in the treatment of mental health with clients from diverse cultures. Being able to have the power to be empathetic and offer our clients positive therapy is something that all mental health professionals should aspire to.

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