Micro aggression in the work place can be a bit of an awkward experience. A co-worker throws a subtle jab and you’re not sure if you should respond by ‘checking them’ or just ignore their attempt at shrinking you all together.
Now I can honestly say I’ve been their but it has been a while since I’ve experienced racially driven micro-aggression. But if you have here are a few examples of Tiffany Williams’s experiences:
- If I wear my hair in small twists they’ll ask “How long did it take”? or “Oh I like your hair”. But when my hair is worn in an afro I lierally hear crickets; no compliments at all.
- They always talk to me about black music. They’ll say “Oh Tiffany knows this song”, and it’ll be someone like Chance the rapper, when I don’t really listen to him. They assume I know all hip hop and r&b music but will neglect to converse with me about pop artist which I listen to as well.
- They’ll say something like ‘Ain’t nobody got time for dat” *insert eye roll*and will follow up with “yeah girl it’s because I watch too much housewives of ATL.”
- When ever I suggest things in meetings they’re dismissive but if a white girl suggest the same exact idea they’ll respond “oh great idea we should try that”.
- Some managers wont look me in the face they’ll look down when I walk past.
- One girl asked me why I say ‘Hi’ to the maintenance workers and mail room associate, keep in mind they’r all black and Latino.
- I inquired about a task I was assigned to my manager and she proceeded to get really defensive and complained later to the senior manager, needless to say the senior manager took her side.
- Even when I do try to discuss pop music one girl makes a point to only suggest songs where pop artist collaborated with rap artists.
“It’s a truly disgusting experience its as if they try to make us invisible in order to build up their own confidence”,- Tiffany Williams.
If you’ve experienced these type of subtle attacks within you work environment I’m sure its awkward and it can be east to feel alone in this experience. Some seem to look at these micro aggression as an attempt at connecting with you through their lack of knowledge on your culture. When you feel shrunken and suppressed its hard to believe that the driving force is ignorance and that it is truly deeper than an attempt at forging a connection. These examples of micro aggression can manifest into internalized oppression as the oppressed may feel afraid of loosing their job or of being ignored if they complain, so they internalize the passive aggressive attacks.
For more information on internalized oppression visit ctb.ku.edu